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The Wolf's Call

Opening Date
27 Jun 2019
PG13 Some Coarse Language
115 mins
English - subtitles to be advised
Action, Drama
Antonin Baudry
François Civil, Omar Sy, Mathieu Kassovitz, Reda Kateb, Paula Beer
A young man possesses the rare talent of being able to identify every sound he hears. Aboard a French nuclear submarine, everything depends on him. He is the "Golden Ear." His reputation for infallibility takes a knock after a mistake puts the lives of the whole crew in danger. His determination to win back his comrades' trust drags them into an even more dramatic situation. In the world of disinformation and nuclear deterrence they find themselves caught in a crisis spiraling rapidly out of control.
By Hoai  28 Jun 2019
The film delivers a gripping, well-executed thriller that gives the impression of a bigger production budget than it is.
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Director Antonin Baudry’s debut feature “The Wolf’s Call” is France’s latest contribution to the rather niche genre of submarine thriller. With a budget of $23 million, a modest amount compared to a typical Hollywood blockbuster, the film delivers a gripping, well-executed thriller that gives the impression of a bigger production budget than it is.
The film opens with an Aristotle quote, “there are three types of people. The living. The dead. And those who are at sea.” before plunging right into the midst of a naval crash in Syrian water between a French submarine named The Titan, tasked to rescue a special force, and an unknown object. Onboard The Titan is Chanteraide (Francois Civil), a sonar technician nicknamed “Golden Ears” for his ability to identify objects underwater by the sound they make. This time, Chanteraide’s ears seem to be failing him as he is unable to identify an approaching object, putting his crew in danger and almost jeopardising the mission. As it turns out, this encounter is only the beginning of an elaborate and much more destructive scheme with unthinkable stakes.
The opening sequence is tightly scripted and filled with the kind of tension that has the audience on the edge of their seat within the first few minutes. The tension continues throughout the film as the situation quickly escalates and the threat of nuclear attacks looms large. The geopolitical context similar to what’s happening in our world gives the film gravity as the audience can easily grasp the stakes involved. The film also isn’t afraid to get technical. Having crew members and military officers throw around submarine-specific jargon lends the film a sense of realism that is rare in Hollywood action films.
Performance wise, Francois Civil does a great job at portraying the genius sonar technician getting caught in geopolitical crossfires. However, it is the compelling performances of the Admiral (Mathieu Kassovitz) and captain Grandchamp (Reda Kateb) that give the film is needed emotional weight. As the plot unfolds and the situation becomes more grave, it’s nothing short of a tragedy to see the two respectable military officers, once so calm and commanding, reduced to a small link in the chain of command, helpless and vulnerable in the global game of politics.
By committing to realism, the film is a refreshing take on nuclear warfare, even though its neutral stance on the subject prevents it from having a more impactful ending. Regardless, it will surely satisfy anyone looking for something more grounded in reality than your typical space travel, alien-fighting blockbusters.
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