Cinema Review: Wolf | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Friday, November 27th, 2020  

Wolf

Studio: IFC Midnight
Written and Directed by Jim Taihuttu

May 23, 2014 Web Exclusive
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Shot in black and white, Wolf follows Majid (Marwan Kenzari) through his glum Netherlands neighborhood as he slowly transitions from a purse-snatching street-thug to a mafia-entangled hired gun. Always ready for a fight (and often senselessly violent), Majid draws the attention of a kickboxing trainer after beating one of his students to a pulp. Put in the ring, Majid proves nearly too dangerous even for the brutal sport. A local crime boss watches his gratuitously violent victory, and soon Majid is running errands and intimidating people for money. He continues to climb through the ranks as a kickboxer while also gaining favor with his new Mafioso connections and pulling larger heist jobs independent of any organized regime.

It’s hard to root for Majid as he continues along his violent, self-destructive spiral. Writer-director Jim Taihuttu attempts to humanize his protagonist by showing how much he cares for his terminal cancer-stricken brother. On the surface, one could argue Majid commits his crimes to help his parents pay for his brother’s hospital bills, but it’s a superficial reason at best. No one – least of all Majid – is fooled by his seemingly benevolent motivations. He’s bloodthirsty, self-absorbed, and ruthless. Greater crime dramas infuse their protagonists with redeemable traits – or at least charisma – more successfully than Wolf, and Majid’s aggression and selfishness could easily prove too alienating for some viewers. Those who aren’t completely turned off by him, though, might find themselves increasingly drawn into his story, curious, if nothing else, whether he will survive his whole ordeal.

www.ifcfilms.com/films/wolf

Author rating: 6/10

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