Monday, February 15, 2010

The Wolfman

by Pa Rock
Film Critic

The Wolfman is gonna get you if you decide to stroll through the English moors on the night of a full moon. He will be howling, local dogs will be baying, horses will throw their riders, and the incensed villagers will be tromping through the darkness with torches, lanterns, and pitchforks. Some will die in all of the commotion, ripped apart by big wolf claws or chewed up by razor sharp wolf teeth, and they will be the lucky ones. The unlucky ones will be those who are merely bitten by the wolf and live to fear the full moon themselves.

Benicio Del Toro is the young actor who returns to his family estate, Black Moor, to search for his brother who has gone missing. Just prior to his arrival, the brother's badly ravaged and decomposed body is found in a ditch. The villagers are certain that the young man was killed by the wolf creature that has recently started roaming the moors on the brightest moonlit nights.

The dead brother left behind a beautiful girlfriend, Emily Blunt, who quickly becomes the love interest of the surviving brother. The other remaining family member is the patriarch, Anthony Hopkins, who literally wreaks of evil.

The plot is wolfishly predictable, but fortunately it is submerged into some of the best cinematography every to grace the silver screen. The candlelit rooms of Blackmoor, the moonlight pouring through the fast-moving clouds and onto the desolate moors, the village, the coaches rushing through the night - it was a visual feast - every shot a masterpiece!

Benicio Del Toro was adequate as the prodigal son who returns to Black Moor to find and confront the evil that killed his brother. Emily Blunt was also adequate, somewhat like a lady in waiting for a really good Masterpiece Theatre role. Anthony Hopkins was his usual great self as the secretive father - but just great. I kept wondering what Jack Nicholson could have done with that juicy role.

But it was Geraldine Chaplin who was the most memorable member of the cast. It has been forty-four years since she played opposite Omar Shariff in Doctor Zhivago, the most beautiful scorned wife in movie history. Now she is old and prunish (Meryl Streep without makeup), and just the right person to bring the gypsy healer to life. Geraldine Chaplin, Charlie's daughter, remains a mesmerizing screen presence, a joy to watch!

This is one movie that I may see again - in the theatre. Now that I have absorbed the storyline, my next viewing will be with my iPod and a couple of Moody Blues albums. Now, that would be some blissful entertainment!

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