TL;DR – A submarine film that knows how to be a great submarine film and have you sitting on the edge of your seat.
Score – 4 out of 5 stars
Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene
It has been a while since I have watched a good military film, let alone one set on a submarine. There is a level of tension that you can rarely get in other films as two ships hunt each other in the dark. It is a scenario that you can really use to your best advantage if you have the cast that can sell it. Well, today we look at a film that is taking all of these elements, but can they pull it off, well let’s take a look.
In the not too distant future, where America has isolated itself and Russia is on the rise, we open in the waters off Syria. A commando team has been watching the Russian Port at Tarsus and is in need of an evacuation. Luckily France has a submarine offshore for that very reason. However, as the submarine gets into position Chanteraide (François Civil) the ship’s Acoustic Warfare Analysist can here something else out there other than the Iranian frigate, but as there is no submarine with four props it is discounted. That is until it lights the ship up with a sonar blast, alerting the Iranians to the submarines position and everything gets messy real quick. Back at base, everyone is on edge because Russia has invaded Finland, and there are threats of nuclear war. Chanteraide is certain that what he heard was not a drone, but time is running out.
The Wolf’s Call really excels is in
know how to create and manipulate tension. Part of that is already built into
the scenario as you have two submarines hunting in the ocean depths, waiting
for one of them to make a wrong move. However, you can’t be tense all the time,
so the film interweaves these moments of tension with story building and
shifting locations, all to make that final act really work. There are some odd
shifts in tone, especially right at the start, but it works because of the
characters and the story.
When it comes to the characters in the film, I found them to be quite compelling because on the whole they are really well written. You can tell very quickly the strengths and weakness of every character because they are introduced to you in what is a very high-stress environment that very naturally shines a light on all these characteristics. It also helps that they really commit to making you feel like you are on the subs with all of the little details. Like how everyone works like they have trained on these for hours in drill after drill. François Civil works really well as the anchor for the cast, which is really important as you follow him into that third act.
other thing that works is the scenario that they have set up here, but to talk
about it we need to explore the story, so there will be [SPOILERS] ahead. In this scenario, Russia has become emboldened by
an absent America and invaded Finland. Well putting aside the characterisations
of the Iranian Navy it is a really plausible scenario, made instantly more horrifying
when nuclear weapons come into play. One thing I did like was how the film went
in a direction I completely didn’t expect, but it was the far better option
because it allowed people to respond organically for the situation, and it
allowed those emotional moments have more weight. When it comes to setting in
motion a nuclear catastrophe, there have been a lot of films with much more
silly premises than this one, and as long as you don’t look too hard at magical
location jumping submarines then it works.
From a production point of view, just about everything worked. It really helps when you have real submarines that you can film on because there is no substitute for real, but even when they are not everything looks on point. Though they might want to stow some of those loose items away on the nuclear submarine. Adding to this the graphics of the submarines and the battle underwater were also really quite good, however, there were one or two shots with people on the surface of the submarine that didn’t land as well. Also the setting does give them a good excuse to use some fantastic lighting choices.
In the end, do we recommend The Wolf’s Call? Yes, yes we do. There was tension, there were interesting characters, the scenario was strong, and I watched from the edge of my seat through the entire third act. It is on Netflix at the time of writing and well if you like military films, this is something for you.
By Brian MacNamara: You can follow
Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV,
he’ll be talking about International Relations,
or the Solar System.
Have you watched The Wolf’s Call?, let us know what you thought in the comments below, feel free to share this review on any of the social medias and you can follow us Here. Check out all our past reviews and articles Here, and have a happy day.
Credits – All images were created by the cast, crew, and production companies of The Wolf’s Call
Directed by – Antonin Baudry
Written by – Antonin Baudry
Music by – Tomandandy
Cinematography by – Pierre Cottereau
Edited by – Nassim Gordji Tehrani & Saar Klein
Production/Distribution Companies – Pathé, Trésor Films & Netflix
Starring – François Civil, Omar Sy, Mathieu Kassovitz, Reda Kateb, Paula Beer, Alexis Michalik, Jean-Yves Berteloot, Damien Bonnard, Pierre Cevaer, Sébastien Libessart, Paul Granier, Etienne Guillou-Kervern & Guillaume Duhesme
Rating – Australia: M;