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Beautifully photographed in some stark vistas in British Columbia, the most amazing thing about this film that even with some cheating subtitles young Smit-McPhee with primeval grunts and gibberish to pass for caveman language conveys all the emotion of pages of dialog.
This one is a winner, highly recommended.
But this film is about atmosphere, ideas and visuals. In that it succeeds wonderfully. As the most visually striking film since Life of Pi there's a lyrical harshness to the visuals that suits the story. There is a lot of small things that happen in big vistas and as such they are infused with dramatic weight. There's several shots that I would like to frame. As a parable this sort of directorial style works very well. The film is engrossing; the 90 minutes just fly by.
The dialog, delivered in a made up language and subtitled, is blunt and to the point. Normally this sort of on point writing annoys me but here I thought it gave the film an air of authentic feeling. It's another weird feature for summer film.
Smit-McPee gives a great performance. It's his coming of age story and he straddles the line between man and teenage boy really well. He does a very good job carrying the scenes with the dog. I hope he gets some award attention.
This is more a film about primitivism and the harshness of life than our doggo friends. I think dog lovers will like the film but honestly I feel like fans of harsh survival pictures like The Revenant will get more out it. I'm really glad I saw it. Go on take a chance on this strange breed of film.
The scenery is ethereal, majestic, and stunning. The storyline was well-thought out. The acting was top-notch. The cinematography was stellar. The wolf was regal, gorgeous and well trained - you did not notice the "cues" given to the wolf/wolf-dog, as you do to dogs in other movies.
Not one word of English is used, but it never once made the watching of the movie or the communication between human-to-human, or human to wolf, feel uncomfortable or annoying. The language used in this movie sounds as real as any language I've ever heard. Much like the Klingon language in Star Trek movies, the Elven language in the Lord of the Rings movies, or the language used in the TV show Vikings - it sounds undeniably genuine, not contrived.
This truly is a glorious movie to experience. At the end, the viewers cheered, clapped, and expressed great enthusiasm and joy for what they had just seen, and we agreed!
Btw, I saw this with my Moviepass but I will go see it again with my own money.
1. To 'toughen' the young boys up before the hunt, they are severely beaten up by the older men. Life was so very tenuous and precious back then that I don't believe they would have purposefully hurt their young like that because of the risk of inflicting life threatening injuries... and besides I'm pretty sure just living 20,000 years ago would naturally make everyone tough. 2. This boy seems to be about 14/15 (the actor was actually about 21 when he made the film) and it seems the boy is just now learning how to make fire with a stick while they are out on the hunt... when I'm sure he would have been taught this skill already at a much younger age. He seems to know how to set his broken ankle/foot and put a splint on it but not make fire? And of course he can walk and even run on his severely swollen injured foot right after he sets it without hardly a limp which seemed very bogus. 3. The entire part of taming of an injured adult wolf which is the crux of the whole film just didn't feel credible at all. I know it could be done but it would take a lot more time than the film had to spend on this part. Too disney-ish for me. 4. The boy and the wolf swim in a lake like it was summer when it was supposed to be early winter... then later he falls through the ice into a frozen river and is submerged for several minutes. In reality he would have succumbed to hyperthermia within minutes, but of course he survives.
Okay. sorry for the archeological bashing, but the film deserves it. It has no redeeming story qualities. Dancing with dogs.
Dear wife got hooked by the previews, but this is no Clan of the Cave Bear, and this actor is no Darryl Hannah. This left me wondering how on earth this got financed, and I find it hard to believe its going to find an audience. Go read the first three volumes of Jean Auel's series. It goes rapidly downhill in the later volumes, but the parts of Valley of Horses covering the survival of an adolescent in the harsh Ice Age are vastly superior, and much more plausible than this since that particular adolescent actually seems to know what she's doing. Be warned.
When Keda left on his first hunting trip, even his dad was like, "He's my son, but he ain't going to make it out in the wild. I'm just going to enjoy this while it lasts." And sure enough, he almost bought it. Fooled everyone. Then he made it back miraculously. On a broken LEG. Hundreds of miles. You stay home from school when a little bit of snow and ice falls, governments close roads; it's just another day for Keda. 12 miles through a snowstorm, coughing up blood? That's a sunny day to him.
Next time Grandpa tells you a story about how he walked 5 miles to school both ways, in the snow, tell him Keda thinks he's weak.
Knocked one star off because Keda made me question how much of a man I was.
Kodi did a decent job as the lead (who am I kidding, the canine companion is the real lead) but I was impressed with Johannes, who played the chief and father to Kodi. His emotional range was on full display and kudos to him for it.
Brilliantly shot, when appropriate the added slow-mo enhanced rather than looked like Micheal Bay cheese.
So for once, and here's the spoiler so quit reading now or have the ending ruined, the canine doesn't die in the end. There were many heart tugging moments brought on by a great script that doesn't end with Hollywood killing off our furry friends; in fact, the ending turns into a emotional surprise of joy.
This is a wonderful film for a family with kids 10+ with scenes probably too intense for kids younger.
for stating this my first review has been deleted
I work with dogs extensively in training and life, and found the movie to do 'quantum leaps' in how the boy and wolf interact, no scaffolding, no stages to get to critical behaviors, it just all falls conveniently into place