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1.  Dragan Antulov review follows movie review
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Review by Dragan Antulov
1 star out of 4

The author of this review is supposed to worship, or at least respect Mike Nichols as one of the great American filmmakers, but he can't. Although I never saw anything particularly wrong in Mike Nichols' films - they all had interesting stories, good cast etc. - I still have impression of watching them being equal to the watching paint dry. So, when even when he tried to make something different with WOLF, his 1994 horror film, I greeted that effort without any sort of enthusiasm.

The protagonist of this film is Will Randall (played by Jack Nicholson), publishing executive from New York who is currently experiencing plenty of disappointments in his life. His firm is taken over by business tycoon Raymond Alden (played by Christopher Plummer) who degrades Randall and brings Stewart Swinton (played by James Spader), treacherous yuppie and Randall's former friend to his old position. To make things even worse, Randall's wife Charlotte (played by Kate Nelligan) is having an affair. However, few days before this all happened, Randall was bitten by a wolf on the isolated country road. Since that event he notices changes in his metabolism and life patterns - he sleeps all day and is awake all night, his senses are better, but the most significant change is willingness to stand up against his enemies. He becomes even more aware of this change when he meets Alden's daughter Laura (played by Michelle Pfeiffer) and begins an affair with her.

Some of the best roles in Jack Nicholson's career were those of men whose willingness to break the rules or succumb to irrational urges made them look satanic compared to "normal" people. So, the role of book editor who is slowly turning into werewolf was perfect for Nicholson and he plays it with gusto. Michelle Pfeiffer as his partner is also great and visually more appealing than in many other movies. The cast in this film is truly up to task, and Indian actor Om Puri makes quite an impression in the small episodic role of lycantropy expert. Nichols puts a lot of effort into production design and other details, trying to make the story about lycathropy in New York publishing circles as realistic as possible, using the classic horror scenario as the basis for interesting, thought-provoking drama about inter-office politics, midlife crisis and eternal struggle between civilisation and irrational urges in individual humans.

Unfortunately, all those elements go down the drain when Nichols decides to wrap the story up with cheap horror cliches and even cheaper murder subplots. The ending is not the only problem of the film; Nichols, as usual, has problems with proper pace of the film. Slow-motion shots of Nicholson as werewolf are overlong, and Ennio Morricone's score is again quite irritating. So, like in many similar cases, my skepticism about Mike Nichols' film was justified. WOLF could be recommended only to those who truly enjoy Nicholson's acting, even when the rest of the film isn't quite worthy of his talent.

Copyright 2000 Dragan Antulov

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