In Wolf, Jacob (George MacKay) is a young man who believes he is a wolf trapped in a human’s body. After being sent to a clinic to cure his species dysphoria, he and his fellow patients are subjected to a series of bizarre and increasingly dangerous treatments. After befriending and falling for a mysterious girl, Wildcat (Lily-Rose Depp), Jacob is forced to make a choice between his true nature and love.
The philosophies and methods of the facility’s head, The Zookeeper (Paddy Considine), often explode into humiliation and torture for our characters. Patients are caged, walked on leashes, and forced to enact the traits of their animals (attempting to fly, climbing straight up a tree), only to be chastised mercilessly when they fail. Screens are a constant presence, a supposed reflection of our humanness, which blare out the pseudo-philosophical musings of The Zookeeper. Coming in at a brisk 98 minutes, Wolf feels a bit underdeveloped, but writer/director Nathalie Biancheri successfully creates an uneasy surrealism that looms over the scenes. And for his part, MacKay’s presence and physicality is perhaps one of the most compelling aspects of the film. Overall, though, it doesn’t feel like there’s truly much to unpack in Wolf’s atypical coming-of-age tale. R, 98 min.