Sunday, February 6, 2011

Movie Review: Wolfhound

"Volkodav iz roda Serykh Psov", or "Wolfhound from the Grey Hound Clan" is a 2006 Russian fantasy film that simply has blown me away. It is based on a novel by Maria Semyonova, that I know wish to read if I can find it in English.

The film is an excellent example of fantasy, though told less with a Western eye and more of the Russian sensibilities. Certainly had this film been made in America it would be about as impressive as "Ator the Fighting Eagle" or similar fare.

The strongest aspect of this film to me was that it is replete with paganism and strong tribal themes. Certainly the ground covered here has been covered before, taking cues from "Conan: The Barbarian" or "The Beastmaster" (the movie not the horrid TV show), but that simply provides this a pedigree to my mind.

The acting is top notch from all the cast (I HIGHLY suggest watching in Russian with English subtitles if you can) and even the minor players provide excellent performances.

This is not a perfect film as no film can be. Certainly I would have preferred more development of certain characters and the ending is a bit "meta" for my tastes, but be certain none of this will hurt your enjoyment of this film.

My last note is for his animal side-kick. Far too often in films animals are used as comedy relief or brutally killed to make us feel loss for the hero to whom they are loyal. Not only is the choice of sidekick in this film is not only interesting, it is not over used in the slightest.

In the end this movie impressed, entertained and touched me in ways I did not except but was happy to experience. I also want to give a shout out to Monte Cook who's review of the film ("Wolfhound is probably one of the best fantasy films you've never heard of.") brought me to it and I must certainly and whole heartedly agree!


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