'The Wolfpack' Teeters on the Empathy of an Incredible Human Drama
The Wolfpack is a portrait of six extraordinary teenagers who lived their formative lives in solitude in their apartment in New York but obsessively watched and re-created movies to connect to the outside world.
Locked Away From Society
The six Angulo brothers have spent their entire lives locked away from society in an apartment on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Nicknamed The Wolfpack, they're all exceedingly bright, home-schooled, have no acquaintances outside their family and have practically never left their home.
All they know of the outside world is gleaned from the films they watch obsessively and recreate meticulously, using elaborate homemade props and costumes. For years this has served as a productive creative outlet and a way to stave off loneliness—but after one of the brothers escapes the apartment (wearing a Michael Meyers mask for protection), the power dynamics in the house are transformed, and all the boys begin to dream of venturing out.
A Private Revolution
Despite the use of home videos showing the Angulo’s in their surroundings, first-time director Crystal Moselle, manages to weave together a fascinating expose of a family torn apart by their prison-like existence. It has an eerie yet engrossing quality to its uneasy viewing. It teeters on the empathy of an incredible human drama but harnesses the ability to hypnotise us away from its true tragedy; not letting it become the focal point, rather a celebration that these six teenagers haven’t allowed their situation to destroy their imagination, or their lives.
With the access that Moselle gained, it’s safe to say this movie would never exist. However, the family is candid throughout which gives this documentary its unique and wildly iconographic and disturbing charm. Moselle’s alternative approach gives this story its quirky edge and a real sense of a private revolution that is starting to form between the Wolfpack.