hopscotchee: george mackay score: 74.5 rating: R time: 99 minutes
aaaawwwwwwoooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! and wwwwwooooohhhhhhhhhoooooo to us for starting out batch three strong. this film, wolf, was easily a hit or miss with us adding it into the loop from clickbate curiosity. looking at the trailer thumbnail alone, this was an intriguing option from the get-go. now on the hashtag-red-hot-chilli-peppers otherside of the curiosity, we can say the cat did not die!! oh. if that was confusing, we apologize. we can see how that jump may throw you. what we mean to say is that the curiosity was well worth the invite, and, identically, the curiosity didn't kill the cat. however, in this situation, the animal reference is unintentionally perfect!! also, is it just us, or why does george mackay look like wyatt oleff in this poster?? yo, they could play brothers or even relatives. unfortunately, wyatt says he's no longer acting - however, they all say that....never-mind, let's get back on topic.
to begin, the fact that we were lucky enough to stumble across the movie is quite an honor. wolf, directed and written by the female mastery of nathalie biancheri, was released in december of 2021, which is obviously late in the year. therefore, for it being pretty early in this new year, we were beyond thrilled to see this fresh film!! equally, telling the tale of a community of kids who identify as different animals and are forced to undergo therapy, we found powerful parallels between the likes of societal conflicts with gender identity and fluidity conversations in today's world. and whether this is related to the topic or not, you may notice that rotten tomatoes was kinda squashy with their scoring for it. everyone has their own opinion and take on things, however we advise you not to perceive this film as a 'bad one'. likely, the hesitation to giving it a high score came from the simplicity in the storyline, and, after all the action-packed and intense stories that have been seen over the past years, it is common for the majority to be less open to simple plots. even if they were done beautifully and impactful-ly like wolf. in our humble take, we thought the script, however missing some connectivity at times (like (spoiler) when it came to jacob and wildcat's relationship), was not a trash fire combustion. the absence of extra-extra-fluffiness gave more spotlight and purpose for the message of the story. another little edit that we thought was well done was (spoiler) with the final shot relating back to the first shot. this way, the audience is left wondering that those shots at the beginning (of jacob free in the forest before being sent to the treatment center) were actually clips of what would come (jacob free in the forest post therapy). mind-blowing yet simple. and very well done.
on the other paw, an additional love we had for this film came with the powerhouse duo from the director of photography and location scout. it is head-shoulder-knees-and-toes-obvious that the two teams worked hand and hand to give it their all. there was absolutely no lacking in their part. every scenery shot was appropriately matched with stylistic creativeness, using basics such as the rule of thirds, negative/positive space, pattern, center framing, and more. correspondingly, this well-work in both of their departments allowed for the viewers to note the contrast between the nature robust outside world, where the kids feel they belong, and the fake, pastel-stale therapy facility, where the kids are kept.
and this is all to say nothing of the beautiful work from the actors!! one may see this as an indie-film art piece for the actors to play around and have fun with, while on the contrary, the range of nuances that are seen from the talent in this show perfectly demonstrate the comfortability they had in becoming the animal(s). and now whether the noises they made (howling, etc.) were added in during post or not, the ability they portrayed in both control and freedom was nothing but outstanding. a wonderful example of this was when (spoiler) jacob the wolf was trying to constrain yet release his howl at night in his bed. this little moment in the movie was exceptional and a well deserve props-moment for mr. hopscotchee, george mackay and his back (which we also believe had its own starring role).
as can be seen, in our take, wolf was a stunning film, cross-bred with powerful and vital sociopolitical subjects. partnered with its attention to location, shot comp, unguarded acting, and more, this is a fascinating watch. and definitely one that should be highlighted for its female-direction. like, don't you agree (if not, maybe you should watch it....)?? this film deserves another aaaawwwwoooo. say it with us:
-- thanks, georgey xo