The Wolfman (15)

Film image

The ViewBirmingham Review

StarStarStarNo StarNo Star
Review byMatthew Turner15/02/2010

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 100 mins

Enjoyable, beautifully shot and surprisingly gory creature feature, with terrific performances from Benicio Del Toro and Emily Blunt.

What's it all about?
A remake of the 1941 Lon Chaney Jr. classic, The Wolfman is directed by Joe Johnston and stars Benicio Del Toro as Lawrence Talbot, an English nobleman by birth who left home after witnessing his mother's violent death as a child. Years later, Lawrence receives a letter from his brother's fiancee, Gwen Conliffe (Emily Blunt), begging him for his help in finding his missing brother.

Lawrence duly returns to his ancestral home and is reunited with his estranged father, Sir John Talbot (Anthony Hopkins), only to find that he's too late and that his brother's body has been found, mutilated beyond recognition. Vowing to destroy the creature that killed his brother, Lawrence joins the villagers as they search for the beast but events take a violent turn when he's attacked and bitten by a werewolf.

The Good
Benicio Del Toro is perfectly cast as Talbot, delivering a haunted performance that is genuinely engaging – he even looks like Lon Chaney Jr. in some scenes. Emily Blunt works wonders with a largely underwritten role, bringing a warmth and tenderness to Gwen that works well; she also has intriguing chemistry with Del Toro.

The film is beautifully shot, with atmospheric photography by Shelly Johnson, who makes strong use of fog-swept moors and creepy forests. The werewolf effects are genuinely striking (they're clearly modelled on the 1941 Wolfman rather than, say, An American Werewolf in London) and there are also several good shocks and a surprising amount of gore.

The Bad
That said, Anthony Hopkins' accent is all over the place (it's Welsh in some places, Irish in others) and he somehow manages to ham it up while simultaneously underplaying it. Similarly, though the character designs are excellent, the production seems to have skimped on the actual transformation effects, which feels like a bit of a cheat.

Worth seeing?
The Wolfman is an entertaining and surprisingly bloodthirsty creature feature with a superb performance from Del Toro, though it's also underwritten and the effects seem rushed in places.
The Wolfman Featurette

Film Trailer

The Wolfman (15)
The Wolfman has been reviewed by 3 users
image
01 Focus (15)

Will Smith, Margot Robbie, Rodrigo Santoro

image
02 Selma (12A)

David Oyelowo, Carmen Ejogo, Tim Roth

image
03 Far from the Madding Crowd (tbc)

Carey Mulligan, Tom Sturridge, Matthias Schoenaert...

image
04 Chappie (tbc)

Hugh Jackman, Sigourney Weaver, Sharlto Copley

image
05 A Most Violent Year (15)

Oscar Isaac, Jessica Chastain, David Oyelowo

Content updated: 13/12/2017 11:18

Latest Film Reviews

Film Blog

Urban Pundit

Keep up to date with everything in film and cinema at Urban Pundit, the exciting new blog.

Film of the Week

The Conjuring (15)

Hugely enjoyable, genuinely scary horror flick that provides a welcome throwback to classic 1970s chillers, thanks to impeccable production design, a superb script, powerfully atmospheric direction, intense set-pieces and terrific performances.

Latest Close Up

Noah Baumbach Interview

The Frances Ha director discusses co-writing the script with Greta Gerwig, shooting against the backdrop of New York and the real lives of the city’s people, Greta Gerwig’s performance, the music in the film and the picture's visual style.