A Brit Late: The Wolfman
The Wolfman is a 2010 remake of the 1941 original and stars Benicio Del Toro and Anthony Hopkins. Like the original, we follow Lawrence Talbot as he returns to his childhood home after the death of his brother, but encounters and is bitten by a werewolf.
A summary of the film would be a bit all over the place. For one, a film that claims to be about The Wolfman but it sure doesn’t feature a lot of the mythical creature. We never fully see it until about 45 minutes in and the film is only just over an hour and a half long. Even after that first encounter, it’s only towards the end of the film that we see some full wolfman action. I can understand if the film was a character study of Talbot and whether he is actually becoming a werewolf or that he’s just losing his mind, but it isn’t. We see some glimpses into his dark childhood, but this isn’t used as a plot device. Rather, the film focuses too much on the relationship between him and his father. I can understand the troubles they have with each other but none of this has relevance to the werewolf until the end of the film. I came to watch a man’s struggle with the beast inside him, not squabbling with his father.
The film also seems to have some trouble in portraying its characters. For example, Talbot is the film’s antihero and is portrayed in a way that we’re meant to feel sympathetic for him, but the film doesn’t give us any reason to. I think the problem is that Del Toro really wasn’t suited for the role of Talbot. Firstly, he doesn’t even try and fake a British accent. The film is set in 19th century England and it just breaks the immersion of this setting when you hear him speaking with a non-English accent. He also doesn’t display much emotion in his performance. He almost seems bored to playing the character, even in the dramatic scenes. I don’t think he’s a bad actor but he was horribly miscast.
Hugo Weaving plays an inspector (with a dapper mustache hat combo) and the film portrays him as the villain but if anything he is the hero. His role is to kill Talbot after he becomes a werewolf, and how does this make him evil? His job is to protect the public, and Talbot himself knows what the werewolf inside him is making him do, so it’s only right that Weaving goes after him to protect the British people from the werewolf.
While the film is dull for its first half, it does pick up a bit once Talbot transforms. It’s pretty standard action fare, with a bif finale, but it’s enjoyable enough. The best part of the film is Anthony Hopkins as Talbot’s father. Why? He’s Anthony Hopkins. You can’t help but love his sophisticated and lovably British performance.
In conclusion, The Wolfman is exactly what you’d expect from a remake. It has a high budget, so it looks nice. However, it is loosely based on the original film, and it’s very average, not offering much other than something to eat popcorn to. I would say that there are much better films with werewolves out there. (No, not Twilight)