The Wolfpack

The Angulo families seven children have been raised without really seeing the real world.  An active year was leaving the house nine times, while there were years where they would never leave at all.  When Crystal Moselle met them walking down the street dressed like they had walked straight from the set of Reservoir Dogs, she found out about this story and determined to discover more.  Henceforth, The Wolfpack was born.

Confined to their apartment by an overbearing father, whose views seem to sit somewhere between religion and over-protectiveness.  These seven children, and in particular the six brothers who are the true focus of the film, found out about the world through films.  Movies like The Dark Knight stand as formative experiences, having the same impact on their lives as others may receive from a first kiss.  With no world to explore, they decide instead to explore these films, acting them out with homemade props.

This translates to years of acting experience, although admittedly on a low-budget level, giving the unusual effect of them being practically camera ready.  The filming of this documentary seemingly not fazing them at all.  Yet it’s not just their on camera bearing that these films have effected them.  Their whole life view has been shaped by the movies they watch.  They dress like characters from a Tarantino film and even their first trip to the cinema sees them donning suits and sunglasses.  It is fascinating to see how this cinema education affects the way they view the world.

The real weakness in The Wolfpack comes from the direction, which doesn’t mean it’s a bad documentary.  However, you feel like there are questions here that Moselle is not seeking out the answers to.  Their father’s reasoning and his relationship with his wife, who has also been subjected to this self imprisonment, is never truly explored and there is only short scenes of him explaining himself.  The unsettling nature of these children’s upbringing is as interesting as it is creepy and while the boys themselves prove to be documentary worthy sources, it is a shame we don’t get to truly understand why they have ended up this way.

The Wolfpack is still a documentary that you should be seeking out.  The Angulo boys are ready-made stars and it doesn’t feel like much of a stretch of the imagination to see them continuing in the film industry.  Watching them make their way out into the real world and taking pleasure in such simple things is a life affirming experience and The Wolfpack manages to capture those moments in an enthralling manner.

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