The Wolfman movie full length review - My Favorite Movie Of All Time...One Of Cinema's Greatest Under-Appreciated Masterpieces
With my reviews, I often share some very unpopular opinions. I've given extremely negative ratings/reviews to some beloved movies and extremely positive ratings/reviews to some unpopular ones.
Out of all the heavily criticized and critically panned films I've rated/reviewed, "The Wolfman" is the best by far. I'll even go out of my way and call it one of the greatest films ever made. As you can see by the title, it's without a doubt my favorite movie of all time.
The film centers on three characters; Lawrence, Sir John and Gwen. All three characters are extremely deep, developed and relatable, and there is a bit of each of them in all of us. Lawrence Talbot is a Shakespearean actor of the civilized world, haunted by his horrific and violent childhood in the natural world of his father. Lawrence starts off as a dismissive and cold figure, but in the face of tragedy and his nightmarish affliction, he becomes more compassionate, courageous and emotionally open throughout the course of the film. He represents the potential for growth in character and strength in faith in the face of tragedy, even in the face of the temptation of our inner beast. He represents a hybrid of both the natural and the civilized world, a man who has suffered the cruelty of both. (The Wolfman in the case of the natural world and the barbaric Asylum in which he is "treated" in the civilized one) Gwen Conliffe was the fiancé of Lawrence's slain brother, a refined lady of the civilized world who understands not Lawrence's hardships or the nature of the natural world of Lawrence's origin. Like Lawrence, she becomes far more loving and proactive over the course of the movie, showing how in the face of tragedy, we must be strong and proactive to help the ones who care about us. Sir John Talbot represents a far more cautionary tale; a man purely of the natural world, Sir John is a weak willed man and a coward who gives into the temptation of the beast within him, destroying everything he loves and cares about. He represents what we could become if we are not strong in the face of tragedy, and if we do not resist temptation.
Benicio Del Toro is fantastic as Lawrence Talbot, the man doomed to become The Wolfman. Del Toro does an excellent job playing a cold, tortured and frightened man who increasingly becomes more tortured, but also more emotional and kind over the course of the film. His facial acting is outstanding, he does an excellent job portraying a wide range of emotions; love, angst, fear, somberness, nostalgia. I really do think the man deserved an Oscar for this role.
Emily Blunt does a similarly excellent job as Gwen Conliffe. She adds so much emotion and heart to this film it's incredible. She does a great job portraying the sincerity, determination, lovingness and conviction required of the character.
Finally, we have Anthony Hopkins as Sir John Talbot, and like Blunt and Del Toro, he does an excellent job playing the character of Sir John. He gives the character a touch of sympathy and humanity, and buckets of creepiness. I never saw the twist about his character coming, though this review may unintentionally spoil it. If so, I apologize.
The look of the movie is almost as captivating as the writing. "The Wolfman" transported me to a different world with its lovely sets, lighting and atmosphere; a grand Victorian world of beauty and terror. The movie provides us with some excellent, stunning, memorable shots that I will never forget; from a gorgeous sunset over the moors overlooking Talbot Hall, to a shot of The Wolfman howling on a gargoyle overlooking all of London, to The Wolfman gazing at the moon underneath the London Bridge.
And what would "The Wolfman" be without...Well, a Wolfman? And my oh my did this film give us a good Wolfman. The Wolfman here looks spectacular. Not only is the design itself wonderful and a loving homage to the original Wolf Man design, but I applaud the director for deciding to go with practical monster makeup effects instead of a CGI cartoon. The Wolfman feels like he's really there, stalking you in the forests of Blackmoor.
Many times in Sci-Fi/Fantasy movies, I feel that the romance stories are forced, unnecessary and not the least bit emotionally engaging. Not at all here. "The Wolfman" is a beautiful love story as well as a compelling thriller, these really are two characters who you feel truly need each other. They both give each other strength, they are truly there for each other in some downright horrific times. Even when Lawrence is made the village outcast (Not just for his affliction, but for his identity as a half-Gypsy), Gwen is still there for him. Hell, one could argue that during Lawrence's suffering in Lambeth Asylum, it is his love for Gwen that keeps him sane and saves his life. Del Toro and Blunt have fantastic chemistry as well and I had no problem believing these two were in love.
This film really manages to get in a powerful emotional punch. I saw myself and many of my loved ones in both Lawrence and Gwen, so when they suffered, I suffered with them. The themes and messages of the temptations of the inner beast, and betterment of oneself in times of tragedy and unconditional love truly hit home for me. The ending confrontation of Gwen and The Wolfman truly had me bursting into tears, even for a little bit after the credits. For a movie called "The Wolfman", I did not expect that.
This is a movie that I can watch 500 times and not get tired of, and the hate that its gotten really saddens me. It may not be the best movie of all time, but it's my all-time favorite and the most under-appreciated.