The Wolfpack

"Everything about The Wolfpack is extraordinary, beginning with the subjects of Crystal Moselle's mesmerizing documentary."- Time Magazine

“How did director Crystal Moselle find the Angulo family? The seven kids — a girl and six boys, half-white, half-Latino — have never left their cavernous apartment on the upper floor of a sky-scraping Lower East Side housing project. But there she is, with cameras, watching the kids reenact their favorite movies — Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, Goodfellas, Halloween. What a sad, strange, intoxicating movie. Their abusive father has effectively imprisoned them from birth. They’re being homeschooled by their mother. A 5,000-film library is their only contact with the outside world. The movies are both their Juilliard and their peer group.

“The boys have big noses, high cheekbones, and hair as long as Crystal Gayle’s. They’re androgynous looking. Moselle finds the boys articulate and self-aware, with a striking sense of what is normal and what is sane. One day, one of the eldest boys, Jagadisa, slipped into his Michael Myers Halloween costume and out of the apartment. He was surprised to discover there were no lasting repercussions. Soon the others began leaving too.

“Moselle gives both the interiors and exteriors an otherworldliness. The whole movie feels dreamed. The apartment is made to seem enormous. The outside world, by comparison, seems small. When the brothers hit the streets, they do so as a pack, dressed in old clothes and sunglasses that are wrong for their faces. They’re probably going for the signature slow-motion stroll from Reservoir Dogs.

“Moselle lets the imagery (hers, the kids’) speak for itself, and her approach haunts you. You do wonder, though, what a journalist or a mental-health professional might have done with all this access. It’s such a ripe subject for nonfiction and so unfathomable a story that you also wonder whether it could be a hoax. But the reenactments that Moselle shows us are almost too organically psychological to be fabricated: violent films ultimately about brotherhood.

“Isolation has brought out the artistic genius in the Angulos. They’re Wes Andersons as raised by a dictator–prison warden to grow up to be the shut-ins from Grey Gardens — or like the children Miss Havisham never had. The boys come to hate their father (the youngest is the girl; she hardly speaks) and affirm their love for their mother. But, again, it’s almost too perfect. The astonishing talent for production and performance that these boys possess is a chilling, backhanded tribute to their father and torturer. His name is Oscar.” - Wesley Morris, Grantland


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