Never Cry Wolf (Ballard, 1983)

Never Cry Wolf (Carroll Ballard, 1983)

I’m really not into ‘animal’ movies, so despite all the great things I kept hearing about this one, it was never really a priority of mine to see. As it turned out, this wasn’t really a typical animal movie. Yes, majority of the film is spent with one man, living isolated, studying a den of wolves. But it’s much more a spiritual, poetic tale than it is Air Bud. Light voiceovers, beautiful cinematography, and an odd and interesting mythology keep the film at a captivating level throughout. Then, the film’s brave penultimate scene happens where the line between man and nature blurs to the point where in most films, I would be rolling my eyes at the over-the-top ‘oats and berries’ message. But Ballard is unembarrassed of her boldness, pulling out all the aural and aesthetic poetic stops, creating pure visceral bliss for 15 minutes. All in all, it’s a fantastic film that builds in quality as it goes and rarely, if ever, lets up.  9.25/10

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