Film Review: “Wolf” (2013)


Written and Directed by Jim Taihuttu

Country: Netherlands

Cast: Marwan Kenzari, Cahit Ölmez, Nasrdin Dchar, Jacob Derwig, Michael Knaap, Bo Maerten, Chemseddine Amar, Raymond Thiry

Once someone enters the world of organized crime, there is no way to leave, unless that someone either declares war on this disturbing world, or leaves as a dead person. This does not mean that our hero Majid is the one who should pay that ultimate price. Director of ‘Rabat”, Jim Taihuttu introduces to us in “Wolf” the world of organized crime, where cruelty, murder, and robbery is commonplace.

“Wolf” follows Majid (Marwan Kenzari) – a second- generation Dutchman of Moroccan descent, who is recently released from prison and back living with his family. He has a little son, and a brother, who is in critical condition in the hospital. He makes a promise to himself to stay away from the criminal world.  This is until he meets his best friend, who keeps involving Majid in robberies that grow dangerously bigger. This puts Majid’s plan to become a kickboxer in danger.

Jim Taihuttu is a talented European filmmaker who knows very well how to draw the audience`s attention to his work, and to the story he tries to tell. Shot in black-and-white homage, Taihuttu`s solo feature debut is a well-made educational film about the immigrants who live in the Netherlands and how they survive. However, Taihuttu`s goal is not to show how bad they live, but how they struggle to live the life they want. Some of them like Majid, try hard to feed a disapproving family; a family who wishes to see him dead, rather than alive

Taihuttu presents Majid as a victim of unfortunate realities, which he, as the hero, must deal with. But when you have recently been released from prison, you don’t know what is expected from you when you get home. However, Majid is a talented, bright man, whose fearless attitude makes him a naturally gifted kickboxer. And, everything would work perfectly fine for Majid, if not for his friends, who want Majid to come back to the world he so desperately wants to leave behind. Even though Taihuttu shows us that Majid is really determined to change his destiny and become a good citizen, his problems with money, and his unsuccessful relationship with his ex-girlfriend, take him back into the criminal world, where one of its leader, Hakan  (Cahit Olmez), has noticed Majid`s potential. He approaches him with an offer he finds difficult to refuse.

Marwan Kenzari, who is not only an actor, but a costume designer, plays Majid so beautifully well, that despite the world he is in, we still sympathize with him and want him to get out of his troubles as soon as possible. Kenzari`s Majid is very vulnerable, strong, and sometimes cruel, but only because he needs to protect himself from the entire world. This is why once Majid is involved in a fight, nobody can stop him; his strength and anger are growing stronger.

In conclusion, ‘Wolf” is a crime-sport-drama which depicts the social lives of different ethical groups who endeavor power. “Wolf” probably is one of the best Dutch movies I`ve seen in a while, which is shot in black-and-white format. It`s raw and moving, with great art direction, and with a simple and at the same time, convincing story.

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