Geraldine Chaplin, Anthony Hopkins



The Wolfman



So who doesn’t like a nice werewolf film, with lots of night shots of creepy woods, a huge old mansion that seems to have empty eyeholes instead of windows, lots of candles in every room, and of course the sound of wolves howling at the full moon somewhere in the north of England?  Well, “The Wolfman” has it all in spades, even including an old gypsy woman who can foretell the future – she’s played by Geraldine Chaplin – and Anthony Hopkins as the father of our hero, Benicio Del Toro.  Benicio Del Toro?  How in the world did Benicio get into this film?  Everyone but him is English, everyone has an English accent, and he barely has an American one.  And apart from the fact that he’s put on about fifty pounds since we last saw him, he just wrenches every scene out of what should be a wonderful make-believe world.


And to a certain extent it is; the photography is darkly ominous, the set design and art direction and music are all appropriate – yes, I know, the story is not what you might call ambitious; it’s just a retelling of the 1941 version, but when you have werewolves there’s only just so much invention you can put into your script.  Good man comes home from abroad because his brother is dead under strange circumstances, circumstances that remind him of his own mother’s apparent suicide, finds his brother’s widow, gets bitten by a werewolf, turns into one so that he cannot consummate his love for the widow, has it out with the villain, and, yes, dies in his lover’s arms.  The end.


It’s almost enough to make you cry, if only it weren’t Benicio Del Toro’s death, which makes you want to throw up instead.  If it weren’t for that, “The Wolfman” would be a howlingly good entertainment.