Wolf Totem

Critics Consensus

As a visual experience, Wolf Totem boasts thrills that compensate for the significant narrative sacrifices made in bringing Jiang Rong's novel to the screen.



Total Count: 30


Audience Score

User Ratings: 491
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Movie Info

In 1967, a young Beijing student, Chen Zhen, is sent to live among the nomadic herdsmen of Inner Mongolia. Caught between the advance of civilization from the south and the nomads' traditional enemies - the marauding wolves - to the north; humans and animals, residents and invaders alike, struggle to find their true place in the world.


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Critic Reviews for Wolf Totem

All Critics (30) | Top Critics (15) | Fresh (20) | Rotten (10)

  • The greatest aspect of "Wolf Totem" is the gorgeous, sweeping cinematography that captures the landscape in breathtaking aerial shots and crystal-clear color. The story has its touching moments but dissolves into disjointed melodrama.

    Sep 14, 2015 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…
  • Something ends up lost in translation. Its aspirations of looking and feeling recognizable end up uncomfortable and embarrassing.

    Sep 11, 2015 | Rating: 1.5/4 | Full Review…
  • There's no denying the beauty of the film's imagery, violent and tender, or the emotional power of the final moment in the boy-and-his-dog love story.

    Sep 10, 2015 | Full Review…
  • Characters seem carved from a much larger narrative. The landscape and painstakingly trained wolves are the true stars.

    Sep 10, 2015 | Full Review…
  • Annaud's adaptation of Jiang Rong's Chinese novel is a visual wonder but a dramatic dud, a cut-and-paste mess of plot snippets, illuminated by the occasional inspired visual conceit.

    Sep 10, 2015 | Full Review…
  • Epic in scope, yet at the same time intensely intimate in its handling of its protagonist's inner life, it's a unique wildlife tale that sets a tribe of humans against a majestic pack of wolves.

    Sep 10, 2015 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Wolf Totem

  • Sep 10, 2015
    A horridly depressing tale of man vs. wolf with the wrong side winning. Annaud ruins the gorgeous scenery by having us believe some strange wolf logic and losing a grand ecological lesson which could have been learned.
    John B Super Reviewer

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