MOVIE REVIEW: ‘The Wolfpack’ Must Be Seen To Be Believed


Film: The Wolfpack
Starring: The Angulo Brothers
Directed By: Crystal Moselle

I don’t know that I have ever felt about a documentary the way I do for Crystal Moselle’s directorial debut, The Wolfpack. It’s a deeply moving look at the human experience as viewed through the eyes of a Lower Manhattan family whose only working knowledge of the world around them has been informed by their love of film. Despite what they lack on the surface however, they share an unbreakable bond that lifts their collective spirits above the immediate surroundings.

It’s not as bleak as you may think, but then again it kind of is. The life of the Angulo brothers is unlike any modern history you have heard. Raised well within the New York City limits, the boys spent the vast majority of their lives indoors. In fact, one year they never even stepped foot outside. This was under the advisement of their father, who ruled over the household with a firm grip. His impact has stayed with the boys even as they have matured into young men, and it’s not until one member decides to ‘escape’ that the others begin to really consider the world that lies beyond their front door.

Moselle presents the brothers’ transition from a life almost entirely sheltered into one with an open mind toward the outside world with unflinching honesty. She inter-splices their modern evolution with footage from their home movies, which are actually recreations of the films the boys would watch over and over during the long weeks spent indoors. Reservoir Dogs makes a frequent appearance, as does Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy. The props are simple and the acting is never all that great, but the heart put into every detail is enough to move the most passive film fan to tears. Many have claimed cinema to be one of the only things we trust in this world, but for these brothers that is one-hundred percent the truth.

It’s strange to walk away from a movie feeling as if you have a million questions, yet you are totally satisfied. The Angulo brothers have lived through an experience 99.9% of the world will never fully know, but for ninety brief minutes they welcome us into their home with open arms, kind manners, and big imaginations. We hear of their dreams, then watch them make the first real effort of their entire lives to chase after them, riding the ensuing roller coaster of emotions right alongside them. For everything they lack in the opinion of our possession-obsessed culture there is something they have, albeit largely intangible, that has forged a connection wholly unique to their family. To see it is to learn of a true appreciation for your own surroundings, and that is a connection with viewers few films can ever claim to accomplish.

You have never seen anything like The Wolfpack, and until you witness the film for yourself there is no way you will believe the story it has to tell.


Review written by James Shotwell

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the founder of Under The Gun Review. He loves writing about music and movies almost as much as he loves his two fat cats. He's also the co-founder of Antique Records and the Marketing Coordinator for Haulix. You should probably follow him on Twitter.

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