Posted by: Dr P | February 23, 2010

The Wolfman

Sir Anthony “I’m Welsh you know” Hopkins is developing a long list of movies about animals. There’s the classic Silence of the Lambs, this new vehicle The Wolfman, and of course Legends of the Fall (an absolute turkey). Quality-wise, The Wolfman falls about midway in the list, combining some proper gothic horror with elements of the supernatural, and a bit of period drama into the bargain.

The main protagonists are Hopkins’ character Sir John Talbot and his estranged, Americanised actor son Lawrence (Benicio del Toro). When Talbot’s other son is brutally murdered by what appears to be a rampaging beast/madman, his grieving fiancee (the lovely Emily Blunt) calls on Lawrence to return home and bring some sense to the matters at hand.

Of course rather than a standard murder, Lawrence stumbles on a community torn apart (in many cases, quite literally) by the presence of a creature which strikes down its victims during the full moon (which actually seems sensible – if you’re rampaging about in the middle of thick woods you’d like a bit of light to work with, wouldn’t you?). He also discovers that his dad is completely barking (in all senses), and has taken to attacking anyone who trespasses on his land, even the worried local villagers.

2010 is already rapidly turning into the year of gore. After the astonishingly bloody Ninja Assassin, and most recent release Solomon Kane (to be reviewed soon), you can add the Wolfman into the mix. Like your entrails bloody? Check. Like your victims limbs to be scattered everywhere? Check. This is not a movie for the squeamish. When the Wolfman strikes, it does so with extreme violence.

Of course, this being the movies Lawrence does precisely what any bold hero should – he sets out on the next full moon to try and track down the creature. On his own. In the forest. Anyone else would run home like a gibbering coward and lock themselves in the basement, but not our Larry, oh no he goes out, and what does he get for his troubles? That’s right, wanton violence and a hefty chunk bitten out of him. That’ll teach him.

What teaches him even more is that having been bitten by said wolfy creature, Lawrence then becomes a wolfman as well. Two for the price of one! As it turns out, this is all part of a devious plan by wolfman 1 to set up wolfman 2 to take the fall for all the deaths, and then the villagers will assume it’s “job done” and wolfman 1 will be left in peace to carry on his random maiming and mutilation with no-one any the wiser.

A spanner in the works arrives in the form of a top ranking policeman, played by Hugo Weaving, best known for his roles as Agent Smith in the Matrix, Elrond in Lord of the Rings and for generally talking exxxxxxxtreeeeeeeemely slooooowwwwwlllyyyyyy. Sadly at no point does he start a sentence with “Welllllll, Misterrrrrrrrrr Talllllllbotttttt ….”, but that didn’t stop Big G and me from doing so at every possible opportunity.

The next full moon rolls round, everyone gets in place to carry out their plans, and there’s more mayhem, carnage, slayings and a great big resolution involving a wonderful display of pyrotechnics and some pretty terrific blood-letting.

All in all, not a bad stab at the werewolf story, and one made all the better for the high quality actors who fill the leading roles. Del Toro in particular is very well cast as hairy manbeast number 2! Worth an outing if you like your films riddled with severed limbs! Oh and the scene with Hopkins playing the piano in the midst of a massive showdown is terrific!

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