In Nathalie Biancheri’s sophomore feature, George MacKay’s wolf encounters Lily-Rose Depp’s wildcat in a radical behavioural reform institute.
Jacob (George MacKay) has species dysphoria and believes he is a wolf trapped inside the body of a teenager. He is sent to “the zoo,” a clinic specializing in the condition, operated under the watchful eye of Dr. Mann (Paddy Considine). Nicknamed “the zookeeper,” the controversial and cruel practitioner — who could make Narcissus himself blush — enacts extreme “curative” therapies, expecting nothing short of toadying behaviour and swift reform from his pet subjects. As if through kismet, Jacob is mysteriously drawn to a long-term patient (Lily-Rose Depp, also at the Festival in Silent Night) who believes herself to be a wildcat.
Inside the walls of the facility, the radical pedagogy is no panacea and Pandora’s Box is flung open, unleashing the wild epithets of the patients. Flanked by a kaleidoscopic ensemble cast featuring Rufus the German shepherd (Fionn O’Shea), Judith the parrot (Lola Petticrew), Ivan the duck (Senan Jennings), Jeremy the squirrel (Darragh Shannon), Louise the horse (Elsa Fionuir), Annalisa the panda (Karise Yansen), and Ola the spider (Amy Macken), Wolf sends up a cacophony of alarms and excursions.
Jacob’s Promethean will is tested as his true nature battles to surface amid the chaos while maintaining his mythological status among the animals that surround him.
Directed by Nathalie Biancheri (I Was Here, Nocturnal) — who with a sense of tragedy and adventure also penned the unique script — the film is a powerful reflection on self-determination and belonging in societies that dictate behaviour that will have audiences mewling and howling.