Friday, 17 July 2015

REVIEW - THE WOLFPACK (CRYSTAL MOSELLE)


A documentary so rich in psychological detail that it can't help but be equally fascinating and disappointing. It's not that the inferences Crystal Moselle draws from her experiences with this family, the Angulos, are misguided, rather that they aren't nearly sufficient enough to encapsulate the enormous complexities of their existence, juxtaposed with those of the rest of us. The Wolfpack is a riveting film, however, due to the simplest technical detail of all: it makes us imagine those complexities through showing, not telling. A little telling might have exposed a more sympathetic mind, perhaps, and opened up a radically broader debate; as it is, The Wolfpack inspires seemingly limitless debate anyway, such are the inferences that we can draw from this portrait of ordinary lives in an extraordinary environment. Moselle's reluctance to probe too deeply unwittingly betrays an unavoidable, yet endlessly intriguing, feature of this particular picture of life (or any other, indeed) - the search for answers in connection to the whys and wherefores of human behaviour can never be fruitful. We search The Wolfpack for someone to blame, only to find a chain of oppression and pain that seems to have no beginning and no end. Those inferences you thought you just drew? In merely chronicling a tiny portion of the lives of such peculiar (yet wholly plain) people, Crystal Moselle draws out so much detail as to deny any such conclusions from being drawn in earnest. It's as fascinating to dwell upon as it is disappointing to discover.