Documentaries allow for some fascinating subjects. Telling stories that may otherwise have remained unheard. That certainly feels like the case with The Wolfpack, the story of a group of brothers raised in isolation in a flat in East Manhattan by their tyrannical father.
The boys are hometaught by their mother and have been raised on Hollywood movies. In their spare time the boys recreate scenes from their favourite movies- watching the film over and over and carefully writing out the script for themselves. They have manufactured a fine array of outfits, a lot of which are on display during a partciularly brilliant Halloween sequence early on in the movies.
The boys and their mother are kept locked in their apartment by their father who owns the only key to the house, only allowing them out for special occasions. One day one of the boys manages to escape the house wearing a Michael Myers inspired mask and opens the door to a whole new world for his family.
The Wolfpack works successfully on a number of levels. The boys, despite having been raised in obscure circumstances all prove charming and have a natural ability in the front of the camera, perhaps a side effect of watching movies all their lives. Whilst their father makes the movie an uneasy watch- at several times during the film he refers to himself as either God or Jesus; this messiah complex has made the lives of his family hell and whilst they still show him affection it is clear that it is more through fear than love.
The boys mom cuts a conflicted figure- her dedication to her husband prevents her from questioning him but deep down it is clear this is not the life she envisioned for her children.
All of this makes for a compelling, if at times difficult watch. The boys are great company and their enthusiasm helps propel the film, even when it is dealing with some rather dark subject matter. Part cinematic love letter part terrifying social experiment The Wolfpack is essential viewing for those who love film.