Combustible Celluloid
 
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With: Bhagavan Angulo, Govinda Angulo, Narayana Angulo, Mukunda Angulo, Krsna Angulo, Jagadisa Angulo, Visnu Angulo, Susanne Angulo, Oscar Angulo
Written by: n/a
Directed by: Crystal Moselle
MPAA Rating: R for language
Running Time: 90
Date: 06/11/2015
IMDB

The Wolfpack (2015)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Film School

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

One day in New York, filmmaker Crystal Moselle saw six brothers dressed like Reservoir Dogs, but with waist-length hair. She befriended them and gained access to their strange lives; the brothers and their sister had been locked inside their apartment since birth, their parents allowing them outside maybe once a year, but sometimes not even that much. The siblings were homeschooled, but had their most eye-opening education through movies. They watched Pulp Fiction, The Dark Knight, and dozens of other favorites, and then made costumes and props and play-acted the entire movies in their rooms.

Moselle treats the brothers with great empathy, finding that they are quite sophisticated and likable in many ways, even if they're unfamiliar with things like trees or sand. She's similarly kind to the parents, who seemed to have had their own fully-lived lives before they became fearful of the big city and locked their children away. (Whatever antagonism the audience might feel for them, they bring on themselves.) The movie charts one incident in which one brother escaped while wearing a Michael Myers mask (styled after the one in Halloween) and walked the streets of New York until he was arrested and stayed in a hospital for a while.

That was the brothers' first taste of freedom, and as the movie goes on, Moselle follows them as they increasingly go out on their own. The movie seems rather hopeful for their future, though it could perhaps have spent a bit more time mourning for what these boys lost during their formative years. It also does not raise the question of Moselle herself, a pretty blonde, and what affect she must have had on the boys, spending so much time in the house. The brothers seem to like and trust her, but it seems inconceivable that none of them developed a crush on her.

Still, The Wolfpack is a sad, mesmerizing documentary, whirling with questions; it's a condemnation of fear and an affirmation of the transformative power of movies.

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