Reviewed by Alicia Glass
Warning! Spoiler Review!
On his return to his ancestral homeland to investigate his brothers disappearance, an American man is bitten and subsequently cursed by a werewolf.
A fine wonderful romp of a movie, but not for everyone, yes. You really need to be a fan of the Victorian-times-style movies, such as From Hell and Bram Stoker’s Dracula to appreciate this take on the Wolfman. Of course, things are greatly aided by an amazing makeup job for the werewolf himself done by the incredibly famous makeup and special effects artist Rick Baker. The sets and props and costumes are all more or less fine, personally I thought the portrayal of gypsies was actually pretty good too. But you have to realize, since it’s a Victorian times film, that means certain clichés must be observed: the lead must fall in love with his dead brother’s fiancé, he must be cursed as a werewolf, the female lead must be an oddly endearing combination of strength and vulnerability, and the father of this whole charade must have a deep dark secret. If you can’t guess most of the plot from that right there, it’s hopeless.
Nevertheless, the film does manage to laugh at itself in the most interesting and even cheerful ways. The shift from man to werewolf in front of an entire quorum of learned doctors, while the head doctor is giving a speech about how it’s ALL in Talbot’s mind, is priceless. Each and every shift scene has it’s own merit, but that one takes the cake.
Benicio del Toro does a very fine job as the lead Lawrence Talbot, and I am forever grateful that the storyline said Lawrence was educated in America (and therefore he has no English accent). It would have been criminal to get the man to even try, here’s a neat solution. Sir Anthony Hopkins, a paragon of acting for everything from Hannibal to Ptolemy, brings a command performance as father Talbot, stern patrician and unapologetic monster. Emily Blunt stars as inevitable love interest Gwen Conliffe, with the fairly standard idea that only the right woman’s love can save the man inside the werewolf. And lest we forget, the ever-amazing Hugo Weaving of The Matrix and LoTR Trilogy fame, delivers a fine performance as Abberline, the lead investigator trying to catch the werewolf. Did anyone else notice that the name Abberline was also used in the ultra-famous Jack the Ripper cases?
If werewolves are your thing, The Wolfman is a fantastic bloody tearing and rending setup!