He becomes more confident and ends up beginning a romance with his old bosses daughter.
While Phiefer is good the romance isn't that believable despite solid performances.
James Spader is smooth as his nemesis, the one who was picked for his job he was outed for.
You have all these peices but it finally comes together too late with a corny sloppy ending.
~Dr. Vijav Alezais (Om Puri)
A minor entry in the filmography of director Mike Nichols, WOLF might not be a great film, but it is a good one in a subgenre sorely lacking them. Many early shots haven't the power they should, coming off as ideas for good shots rather than good shots in themselves, yet later visual elements prove effective. Nichols and Rotunno make frequent creative use of mirrors to indicate shifts in perception, and despite being an obvious example of day for night, the signature sequence in which protagonist Will Randall stalks a deer retains beautiful intensity and intense beauty.
WOLF's ultimate flaw is pacing; the turn into straight horror happens too late in the runtime, which paradoxically makes it feel rushed. Thankfully, star Jack Nicholson keeps things interesting. Though the satire-to succeed in business, you must relinquish your humanity-falls a little flat, the actors never so much as stumble. Nicholson (reuniting with his CARNAL KNOWLEDGE director) acquits himself nicely, as do Michelle Pfeiffer, James Spader, Christopher Plummer, Eileen Atkins, Om Puri, Prunella Scales, Richard Jenkins, and David Hyde Pierce in supporting roles-a killer cast without the cameo from David Schwimmer of FRIENDS fame.
One cannot discuss a film with Rick Baker effects without mentioning them, which I have now done. If you ever wanted to see a werewolf fight between Jack Nicholson and James Spader, complete with gratuitous slow-mo, then WOLF is the film for you.
And that ending-well, it's a hair-raiser.
For better and worse, WOLF is the most adult werewolf film I've ever seen: Part office comedy, part romance, part horror schlock, its flaws do not prevent it from being a successful hybrid in the vein of its protagonist. Rent it.
"Maybe there's happy endings, even for people who don't believe in them."
If you missed the first five minutes of Wolf and walked in afterwards it would take a long time to actually determine what the film is about. It tries to be a complex drama about a man who becomes a werewolf and the way it impacts his daily life as well as a genuine horror film. It attempts to be both a horror film and a drama film, but it forgets to implement in a sufficiently dramatic story to make up for that. The characters are not interesting in Wolf, and yet the horror themes are. So that is the central issue in Wolf.
At heart, Wolf wants to be a horror film, and yet it is too focused on being a drama and having a successful story that it is not able to do so. I mean, the lives of the characters in the movie aren't that interesting, and although the filmmakers tried they simply could not get that. Most horror films like this are just typical movies about someone turning into a werewolf and killing people like in a slasher movie, but Wolf tries to comnine that with a meaningful story about characters that the viewers can genuinely care about. That doesn't end up happening because Wolf is not as deep as it wants to be as a drama, and not as well focused as it wants to be as a horror film. Mike Nichols deserves praise as director because he actually made an effort to try and transcend the limitations of the genre, but the issue in Wolf is in the screenplay. The story does not have enough strength to justify its large quantity of scenes which are mostly just extended periods of dull dialogue.
If Wolf had a lot more focus on being a horror film, it could have succeeded greatly because it had a lot of potential. I mean visually, Wolf was terrific and innovative. It combined creative cinematography techniques which gave off a certain kind of claustrophobia, and it was combined with Ennio Morricone's musical score which is subtle, yet hauntingly effective and does prove to enhance the mood when it wants to. Plus, the makeup gave an awesome Werewolf themed design to the characters. Everything in Wolf looks good, although there is a bit much slow motion in Wolf. It has its moments, but a lot of the time it's just a bit excessive. It detracts from the experience because it stretches out the scenes a lot longer and makes them seem more melodramatic than exhilarating, and therefore less thrilling.
But still, the dark and shadowy appearance of Wolf gave it a good atmosphere and showed off the kind of potential it had. If the film kept more as a horror than a drama, it could have been a seriously good film. If only it had a better script.
Wolf is a long and slow film which doesn't have enough Werewolf scenes to support it, and it flips back and forth between being a horror film and being a drama film so much that it is easy to be worn down by it, and its drama was just not entertaining. If its characters were more compelling, then it could have worked out but the simple fact is that the drama was too thinly sketched and not compelling enough ended up dragging the experience down. And not even the actors were able to salvage it.
Even though Jack Nicholson is one of the most critically acclaimed actors of all time, Wolf does not feature one of his best performances. However, he still makes a good effort. Although his effort feels rather routine, he is actually the perfect casting decision for a werewolf because his darkly and crazy attire manages to fit into the role of a secretive man with a dark secret very well. Although he doesn't get as much screen time as he should as a lead and his role is thinly sketched, Jack Nicholson's performance in the part is entertaining and has him capitalising on his ability as a character actor well. His natural ability at creating a darkly charisma does manage to make him a good presence.
Michelle Pfeiffer is ok, but she is stuck with the worst character in the film. Even though its not her fault and she isn't annoying, she is the most thinly sketched character and is stuck in the archetype of being a damsel in distress, she just doesn't put much life into the part. Her performance similarly feels rather routine and bereft of energy, but it's because there is only so much she can do with the part and she hits the limit. The acting as a whole in Wolf feels like a campy melodrama and lacks charisma or fun, and Michelle Pfeiffer has to be on the weakest end of that. The best thing she brings to the part is her general presence because she is likable and pretty. If the role were up to her standard she would have been more entertaining, but she simply was not. But all in all she was ok I guess. There just was not any real life.
The only actor with all that much life in him was James Spader. Although he doesn't get much time on screen, when he does he makes a firm effort to entertain which is what he succeeds at doing because he has a mysterious and somewhat manipulative persona which manifests itself into making him the most interesting actor. He manages to transcend the lacklustre elements of the script and end up giving a memorable performance, so he is good in Wolf.
Richard Jenkins and Christopher Plummer also gave decent supporting efforts.
But despite the presence of talented actors, Wolf has a few moments but wastes its potential to be a good horror film with a lot of weak melodrama and insufficient scripting which makes its story boring.