Directed By: Crystal Moselle
Edited By: Enat Sidi
Locked away from society in an apartment on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, the Angulo brothers learn about the outside world through the films that they watch. Nicknamed, ‘The Wolfpack,’ the brothers spend their childhood reenacting their favorite films using elaborate homemade props and costumes. Their world is shaken up when one of the brothers escapes and everything changes.
The film works as a glossy documentary. Giving a look at a interesting family and their particulars.
Though the way the film is handled it seems more like if people magazine did an In depth article on the story rather than a skilled journalist who would go in depth and get answers that the filmmakers choose to avoid or never venture to ask. As that would mess up the feel good story, That this film aspires to be
Just as the film is supposed to be about this family that rarely or never leaves the house at least the kids never do. Yet the director was drawn to make this documentary after seeing them strangely dressed walking through the park? Which I only know from researching the film. It is never brought up int he film, nor does it explore how she got permission to film the family.
It also never explains thoroughly why child services were never called in. Especially based on how many agencies they seem dependent on.
Just as the film, Never explains why the father. Who was so opposed to the outside world and it’s demeaning morals and violence. Why then does he let his kids watch films that are so violent.
For all the fascination and answers the film offers. There seems to be more times that the film avoids details and seems to not be asking certain questions that would open the doc up. Letting a story go by without delving into it.
Though what is onscreen is nice and of interest and shows the power of cinema on individuals and offering a certain view of the world. Especially when it is you only real view of it.
It reminds me of how many certain movie fans choose to close themselves off to the world. Who wish to only have the kind of works exist as the real one seems to disappoint. Where as these kids seem to do it out of necessity. Yet still find the real world fascinating as they have relate it experienced it and how much it is not only new to them, but magical. They embrace all that they have been denied.
The home productions look like the type that were Sweded in the film BE, KIND REWIND and the stage productions from RUSHMORE.
The father’s actions are explained, but still make only sense to him and while he comes off ultimately as a villain. The film chooses to make him seem human rather than totally despicable. Which might be because he is still around in their lives.
For instance, informing us that he has hit his wife numerous times and has been abusive towards her. While being a fascist in general when it comes to his family and offering not real management or help. Yet delivers he harsh message. That life goes on and not full of happy endings though throughout the film it does have them.
The film let’s us get to know certain members of the family, but others are constantly seen, but never brought to the forefront or given a chance to get to know. I know there are a lot of them, but it would have been nice to get to know some of them somewhat.
While the film has a charm of being an underdog, By showing that these kids as victims found a good way to not only escape and express themselves. While also finding a way to cope with their situation. Even though it is all they know. It also is a feel good for the audience for them to learn to venture out and be free. As well as showing off their artistic skills. Only the film is afraid to venture back down to the details and facts that might actually bring the spirit of the doc down.
You can’t help but be charmed by the kids in the family and amazed at their skills and talent especially when it comes to art. Making props and scenery. Though the film tries to make them fascinating and winners ultimately. Watching the film at times, It’s hard to overcome the fact that ultimately for a long time in their fathers attempt to save them. He made them into victims.