Mon, Feb 15, 2010

: The Wolfman

Strange film. Visually, it is occasionally stunning: terrific foggy forests, English manors, 19th century London, and of course scary wolf-monsters. Some of the latter is truly excellent with fantastic (and agonizing) visuals of hands and feet transforming into claws and hind legs, the fingers bending the wrong way. However, those same special are a few times almost laughably bad — just the occasional glimse or two, but it’s enough to confuse. Storywise, the film is similarly disjointed. It’s a basic tale of a prodigal son returning home when his brother is murdered by a strange creature, and of course when he investigates, he ends up getting bitten and turning into a werewolf. But Benicio Del Toro is miscast as the lead, with his strange, carefully enunciated accent not matching up at all with his British father, played by Anthony Hopkins. It actually leads to confusion, as I times I found myself wondering if he was supposed to be a foreigner or if there was some subplot I didn’t know about yet (i.e. Hopkins really wasn’t his father, etc.). Such issues distract from the story. There’s also a problem with the pacing of the film: it races at 90 MPH throughout, with little time for reflection or characterization. There are many moments when it seems to hint or lean that direction, but nothing comes of it, so it’s more of a teasing promise that the film will be better than it is. The potential of a werewolf story is huge: themes of transformation, curses, good and evil, the beastliness of man, and so on, but this script takes little advantage of any of that. In the end this is nothing but an action/horror film with some wonderful visuals. I liked the visuals well enough to have liked the movie — it’s interesting viewing, especially the excellently bizarre nightmare sequence in the middle — but I can’t recommend it for most people as the story is too weak and the film too fractured.

Topic: [/movie]