The Wolfpack  (2015)    60/100

Rating :   60/100                                                                       90 Min        15

A documentary that provides a snapshot of the lives of a somewhat ‘different’ American family – the Angulo’s, six brothers and one sister living with their U.S. Mother in a less than adequate apartment in New York City, and forbidden to leave said apartment by a domineering Peruvian father who has chosen to brood on his own personal nightmarish interpretation of Hindu scriptures and take on over-protecting his children to an extreme rather than any form of occupation. The titular ‘Wolfpack’ keep themselves sane by watching thousands of movies (kudos) and by then re-enacting their favourites and filming the results, often with quite impressive homemade props.

You can’t help but be endeared toward them, and indeed it is probably exactly what I’d do if housebound by some cruel autocrat (asides from dismembering him of course; I remember excitedly printing multiple scripts for the Lord of the Rings to act out with my mortal pals – alas they elected to watch TV all summer instead. Useless cunts). The movie is distinctly focused on one of the brothers, Mukunda, via his narrative of life in the flat (it was filmed over a period of several years) and we see an evolution occur as the eldest become teenagers and things begin to inevitably change, and as an insight into a completely unorthodox way of life happening slap bang in the middle of one of the most populous areas on Earth it is fascinating – but there’s no escaping the fact it is equally depressing. Indeed, the most memorable moment in the film is a brief scene featuring a blonde actress posing for the camera near the end – purely because her lightness and beauty stand in such contrast to the darkness, in terms of both lighting and theme, of the rest of the film.

There’s definitely something in the fairytale that the siblings suffered so much with film as their only outlet, only to eventually cross paths with a like-minded soul, director Crystal Moselle, who would inaugurate a documentary that would then become famous around the world. Indeed, some of the brothers have talked about starting their own production company, and with the success of the film they may be able to fund their own ventures on a significantly broader canvass than the previous confines of their apartment, although there do remain unanswered moral questions about the way it was all conducted – it’s unlikely, for example, the father would have consented to the filming if he knew what a monster he was going to be portrayed as, and there are always two sides to every story …

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