Here is a movie that has had a long and tumultuous journey to the big screen. It was originally set for a release back in 2007 when Mark Romanek was attached to direct. Following his departure (over budget disagreements) the release was pushed back as Joe Johnston came on board. The film was then scheduled for April 2009, then it got pushed to November 2009, before finally landing in February 2010. All of these release schedule changes, talks of re-shoots and additional scenes, not to mention the removal of Danny Elfman's score followed by its reinstatement, all pointed towards a surefire flop. With this knowledge, I went in forewarned, expecting the worst.
So I'm pleased to report it is far from the failure I was expecting. This is not to say that it was all that it could be, but there certainly is a lot to like about it. The Wolfman is a film whose parts are greater than their sum. It is a film that takes cues from other eras of film and puts them together with modern production techniques to create a film that is definitely of the new school but has an almost classic feel. No, this is not likely to become a classic, but it has the atmosphere to bring the thought to mind.
The story is a simple one. Gwen (Emily Blunt) is engaged to Ben Talbot who has gone mysteriously missing. Gwen sends word to Ben's brother, Lawrence (Benicio Del Toro), an actor whose troupe happens to be touring London. And so Lawrence returns to the family estate and his father (Anthony Hopkins). It is not the friendliest of reunions as there is a shared history that has soured the relationship and Lawrence has not been to his ancestral home in many years. His arrival also marks the discovery of Ben, found mauled to death in a roadside ditch. Lawrence vows to uncover the truth behind the murder.