Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Company of Wolves

The Company of Wolves; fantasy, UK, 1984; D: Neil Jordan, S: Sarah Petterson, Angela Lansbury, David Warner, Stephen Rea

Mother and father arrive with a car to their house. One daughter greets them while the other, Rosaleen, is still sleeping and having nightmares: in them, she is running through the forest in order to escape from wolves while there are mice in her toys. The dream continues: Rosaleen is a Little Red Riding Hood in a village and attends the funeral of her sister. Her parents are poor while her grandmother warns her of werewolves and tells her an anecdote about a woman whose husband disappeared and returned as a wolf, so her second husband killed him. Rosaleen goes for a walk with a boy, but they get scared by wolves. She meets a man who seduces her. He kills her grandmother and transforms into a wolf. Even Rosaleen becomes a wolf.

2 million $ was the budget for Neil Jordan's 2nd feature length film, bizarre "The Company of Wolves", which was aimed at being a poetic horror movie that works entirely and exclusively on a symbolic level by using the werewolf legend as an allegory of sexual maturing (though sex is not shown), but due to an tedious and incomplete tone the movie does not manage to satisfy on a higher level. It has a lot of symbols that work and actually have sense, but symbols alone do not constitute a great film. By placing the whole story inside Rosaleen's dream, "Wolves" obtains a free hand in following its own internal logic, queuing surreal situations - i.e. in one scene, the heroine climbs up a tree and discovers a nest in which she finds a mirror and make up for herself; while on her way to visit her grandmother (as a Little Red Riding Hood alias), she does not meet a wolf but a man who tries to seduce her ("I have big eyes so that I can see you better...") - which are all there to give audiences a different perspective of average fairy tales. Grandmother is played by Angela Lansbury, who even calls a priest a "molester", who humorously saws a branch from a tree that falls on her head, as a revenge. Jordan again displays his strange directorial touch, yet the movie is truly not for everyone.


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