The Wolfpack (2015)

wolfpack_2015_poster
The Wolfpack (2015)
  • Time: 80 min
  • Genre: Documentary | Biography
  • Director: Crystal Moselle
  • Cast: Bhagavan Angulo, Govinda Angulo, Jagadisa Angulo

Storyline:

Locked away from society in an apartment on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, the Angulo brothers learn about the outside world through the films that they watch. Nicknamed, ‘The Wolfpack,’ the brothers spend their childhood reenacting their favorite films using elaborate homemade props and costumes. Their world is shaken up when one of the brothers escapes and everything changes.

One review

  • Who would think of preventing their children from going outside and not having any contact with other people? The Angulo kid’s father did. Maybe it was a good idea. They were living in difficult New York City public housing. To make up for the lack of contact the boys watched movies. Lots of movies.
    The family was off on their own from the beginning. They are Krishna followers and the children are named accordingly. There’s Bhagavan, Govinda, Jagadisa, Krsna, Mukunda, and Narayana, the brothers, Visnu, their sister, and Susanne and Oscar their parents. The film is mostly about the six boys. You only incidentally see the sister but Mom and Dad are interviewed, providing some background but no explanations. There is never an explanation as to how Oscar managed to keep the kids from going outside the apartment and Susanne seems to be genuinely upset that she cut off all contacts including her own parents who she does get in touch with near the end of the film.
    The brothers end up acting out the films in front of the family video cameras and going into great detail. They make cardboard sets. They design their own cardboard guns depending on what they need for what scene. They approximate costumes and make up. They even hide their waist length hair so they look right for whatever film they are recreating. Oscar home schooled them and they only have themselves with which to interact and they get along well.
    Then they leave the apartment. In the time they were growing up Oscar might take them out once a year, if that, but they decide they are going out on their own and Oscar can’t stop them. It is an odd mix of knowing life from the movies and not knowing life at all but surprisingly they function pretty well.
    This documentary lingered a little too much on certain brothers and it felt longer than it should have been. With what these boys have done there was much more that could have been put in there. Even with that, this is a fascinating story. These boys are poised, polite, and well behaved, unlike some of their counterparts who leave their home all the time. Although it’s not in the film, when the police break down their door because they have been told there is a stash of guns, the boys are honest but calm about telling what happened and even find some humor in the fact that the police discovered nothing but cardboard guns used as props in homemade videos.
    I give this movie 3 ½ coin tosses out of 4. It won several film festival awards and was seen in a limited run in select movie theaters but if you want to see this one, and I recommend it, you have to find it On Demand or at iTunes. It is worth it.

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