Time of the Wolf

Saw this last night. I came to it as a general fan of the director Michael Haneke, whose “Funny Games” was a brilliant provocation (and scarily funny) and “Code Inconnu” was smart, complexly attentive to social injustices and personal desires,…. (And, no, I haven’t seen “The Piano Teacher,” about which a bunch of us would surely and with great vigor disagree.) Both films are very smart, and I walked away from ’em thinking myself very smart for having seen them and liked them. I felt nothing, beyond that intellectual engagement.

I wept–like a fucking baby–at the end of “Time of the Wolf.” The story is post-some-vague-apocalypse, and society’s broken down. We follow a few survivors–mostly one family (Isabelle Huppert and two children)–as they get by. And that’s about it; not much momentous happens. It’s beautifully shot, the acting is pitch-perfect, and the scenario seems utterly realist (carefully attentive to the small details, unconcerned with the big picture).

And the emotional wallop of the final two scenes caught me so off-guard I did, literally, break down and cry. I haven’t done that since The Butterfly Effect. Ok, I’m kidding about Butterfly. But has anyone else seen Wolf? Was this just some random emotional charge, brought on by too little sleep and underlying anxiety about my kid growing up? Or was the film as effective as it seemed?

5 thoughts on “Time of the Wolf”

  1. we finally watched this tonight. i thought it was very good but at no point did i feel an urge to shed a tear. in fact it seemed to me that the movie was trying to hold emotion/sentimentality at a distance even as it often jarred me with its starkness. so either i’m a heartless bastard or mike’s an utter sap. or both.

    goes over a lot of the same ground as “strayed” which i found more moving.

  2. I think Time of the Wolf to be one the best films I have seen in the last five years. I didn’t weep and agree with arnab as to Haneke’s resistance to sentimentality (something Techine is more willing to do in Strayed, which I also liked a lot even if it felt more conventionally French), but I still thought it to be a very powerful indictment of civilization without resorting to agit-prop.

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