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Personally trapped with this disturbing story about werewolves, this
film production Jordan conveys such beauty that left me in love ; the
story conveys so much feeling , so tenderly , that one comes to love
her with all my heart , there is room for the development of terrifying
subplots, dark and dramatic stories, the film has a romantic air , its
atmosphere is fairytale , with delicious characters and a relentless
The effects of makeup and special effects are great, masterful performances of the entire cast , the cinematography is beautiful and penetrating ; the content of the movie you see: evil , kindness , betrayal, compassion, family issues , and the curse of the werewolves .
Sarah Patterson is beautiful and wonderful , plays Rosaleen , a smart girl , sweet , tender , she is the soul of the film; This film is a mature and very fascinating terror, is a masterpiece of cinema , love it so much that often causes , please pay attention to all quotes from the movie because everything is very deep and special.
The Company Of Wolves is one of my favorite movies.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Neil Jordan could never be considered your typical horror filmmaker.
He's most well known for his thrillers, frequently set among the
beautifully photographed Irish countryside. The director has, on
occasion, dabbled in the genre: The supernatural farce "High Spirits,"
the romantic "Interview with a Vampire," the Freudian psycho-horror of
"The Butcher Boy," the botched mainstream thriller "In Dreams," most
recently the immensely satisfying undead character study "Byzantium."
Near the beginning of his career, however, he created one of the oddest
werewolf movies ever made, as far as you could get from a typical
horror film, the gorgeous, allegorical "The Company of Wolves."
Adapted from Angela Carter's book of feminist fairy tale reimagings, the film's stories are told through several framing devices. In the modern day, a young girl has locked herself away from her family in her room, suffering from cramps presumably brought on by her first menstruation. She dreams of living in a vaguely medieval village. In the dream, her wise grandmother tells her stories of men becoming wolves. One tale involves a disappeared husband returning to his wife in a most unexpected way, another about a boy meeting the devil. Soon, Rosaleen herself has become the story teller, telling tales of wolves at a wedding and a she-wolf, before the stories seem to invade both her dreaming life and her waking life.
"The Company of Wolves" is fraught with allegory. The film mostly concerns itself with a young girl coming into adulthood, with men and their sexual appetites represented as wolves. In the dream, Rosaleen's older sister has been killed by a wolf. The developing young girl is soon being courted by the neighbor's boy, who urges her to step off the path and kiss him. She doesn't seem much interested and rebukes his advances. At night, she awakens to see her parents making love, an act which seems to confuse and intrigue her. The movie directly confronts the Little Red Riding Hood story in its last act. While on the way to Grandmother's house, Rosaleen meets a charming huntsman. The two flirt openly, the girl obviously attracted to the predatory man. Carter combines the original fable's sexually voracious Big Bad Wolf with the heroic, positively masculine huntsman, not distinguishing between "good" or "bad" sexuality. Once at the house, upon realizing he's a wolf, Rosaleen cast her red hood into the fire, an act heavy with symbolic importance. The ending turns the tables, the young girl taking control over the wolf. Considering the entire movie has associated wolves with wanton sexuality, the ending blatantly implies a girl becoming a woman, embracing sex on her own terms.
Though "The Company of Wolves" is never a typical horror picture, Neil Jordan and his team create some striking, horrifying images. An early moment has Rosaleen stepping through a giant version of her bedroom, her childhood toys transformed into menacing figures. The first werewolf transformation, a man tearing his flesh off to reveal the wolf underneath, is startling and graphic. A wedding party morphing into a pack of wolves is similarly unsettling, the twisted faces reflected in a broken mirror. The best moment comes near the end, the huntsman falling to the ground, contorting, his skin bulging, a wolf bursting from his human flesh. It's hard to say if gore hounds will have the patience for a movie as surreal as "The Company of Wolves" but I suspect they'd truly appreciate moments like these.
Of course, Jordan's images entrance as much as they disgust. The movie's loose, dream-like tone allows the director to create surreal, unforgettable moments. The girl in the red hood scales a tree in the forest, finding a bird's nest full of eggs. She smears on lipstick before the eggs hatch, revealing weeping statues of infants. The implications of sexual awakening and motherhood are fine but the strangeness of the image is far more likely to stick with the viewer. Most memorably, a major character is decapitated, their head flying away and shattering like a porcelain doll. The final tale-within-the-tale is about a female wolf climbing out of a well, an intoxicatingly gorgeous segment that is rich with mythic meaning. Smaller moments shine, like a book full of spiders or a white rose blooming into a red one, each full of symbolic importance.
The cast is filled out with experienced character actors like Angela Lansbury, who is excellent, and David Warner, as well as Jordan regular Stephen Rea. However, Sarah Patterson truly fascinates in the lead role. Her Rosalen is a lovely young girl and Patterson is all too willing to play the part's complexity. The film's interior world is too complicated for Rosaleen to be a simple heroine. Instead, Patterson plays the part with the richness the material demands. The actress has few credits after this which is truly a shame. I would have loved to seen more of her.
From George Fenton's lush score, to Anton Furst's intricate production design, to Bryan Loftus' gorgeous cinematography, "The Company of Wolves" is a fascinating and dark reinvention of classic fairy tales. You could read into the movie's rich subtext or simply let the images wash over you. Either way, you're unlikely to forget it.
Once upon a time, there was a up and coming director by the name of
Neil who, for his sophomore movie, decided to create a dark fairytale
based on a modern reworking of the classic tale of Little Red Riding
He packed his film with Freudian symbolismvisual metaphors relating to it's central character's coming of age and inevitable loss of innocenceand filled it with wondrous, atmospheric imagery, effectively creating a disturbing and ethereal fairytale aesthetic. But as beautiful as his film was to look at, at it's heart it was still a load of pretentious and rather dull Gothic art-house twaddle.
The narrativea confusing dream-within-a-dream with interwoven stories recounted by various charactersquickly devolved into a surreal and plodding mess of trite, allegorical, feminist drivel that depicted men as beasts driven by uncontrollable lust. As for the much-touted transformation effects, they were less than specialmediocre animatronic efforts that paled in comparison to those other great werewolf films of the '80s (you know the ones I mean... they were fun, entertaining and made sense).
There's a family living in an English estate. The younger girl Rosaleen
(Sarah Patterson) is tired and starts to dream of a magical world. In
that world, her older sister is dead. Her granny (Angela Lansbury)
tells her stories of a werewolf (Stephen Rea) and a maiden. Granny
knits her a red cape.
This is a three layered world. The girl dreams of a world where the characters tell fables. It's probably one layer too many.
Director Neil Jordan gives a much more sexualized version of Little Red Riding Hood. Sarah Patterson is able to project an innocent and sexual character. The big scene is when Rosaleen meets the Big Bad Wolf. I do wish that the rest of the movie had more of that energy. The other scene I liked is the Stephen Rea transformation. It's more bloody and grotesque than the regular werewolf transformations. It's very well done.
I remember when I first saw this film (many years ago); I found it
quite slow and plodding. This time I appreciated much more the measured
approach taken by the director. It gives the audience time to take in
the story and become familiar with the strange world he has created.
Yes, there are a few clichés in there, the medieval village with a 17th
century manor house and the fact the snakes (big ones) live in an
English forest did seem kind of wrong to me. Also in the 'dislike'
column came the musical score; sorry but synth's just don't cut it any
more. May have sounded cool at the time but now it's just too damn
cheesy. Okay, so what's to like; well, first there's the performance of
Sarah Patterson, who I though did a truly excellent job given the
talent she was working with. I also liked the special effects; all
mechanical with not a hint of CGI (after all, it didn't really exist
back then). I really liked the way the story was structured but it
could have done without the 'modern day' bits tagged on to either end.
Over all I found it an entertaining watch and something every horror
fan should have seen at least once.
SteelMonster's verdict: RECOMMENDED
My score: 7.3/10.
You can find an expanded version of this review on my blog: Thoughts of a SteelMonster.
I can't really seem to rate this film in any way. It is basically a
filmed play, all the actors behaving as such and the sets created in
that sort of style. The plot is using Red Riding Hood as a background,
but all dark and adult, to tell a series of stories regarding wolves in
people clothing. The structure is rather that of a dream, with
confusing blending in of characters and icons.
Even if it has scenes one usually associates with horror, like transformations of people into wolves (the first being one of the best and creepy I've ever seen) this is hardly a horror movie. It is more a dark story telling, perhaps akin to what the original Grimm brothers were writing. Elements of sexuality, betrayal, rage, insanity and violence are found throughout the film.
Despite all that, the creepiest character of all seemed to me to be Angela Lansbury's granny. Devious and androphobic, the old woman is happy to use the pretext of caring after a young girl following the girl's sister gruesome murder in order to "educate" her into the ways of the world, where she must never stray from the path or trust strangers. Of course, this had some sense in the context of the movie, but brrrr.. what a spooky character, portrayed perfectly by the veteran actress.
So, was the film good? I guess it was. Was it entertaining? Not really. The sets, the clothing, the storyline and the acting were all meant to create the atmosphere. In that sense it was mostly unique and successful, but I still can't say if I liked it or not.
I'm the only person I know who's actually seen this film, let alone
loved it, so it's nice to be able to share my enthusiasm for this rich
Why do I love this film? Well, let's start at the very beginning. I adore it when a movie's title is open to interpretation and could be taken in any number of differing ways. Is this about wolves in various guises as companions, whether literal or metaphorical, or are they merely playing a role in some elaborate scenario in our personal fabrication of reality? As it turns out, both. This flick is BIG on the symbolism and the worst wolves are, to quote, "hairy on the inside."
Secondly, and let's not beat about the bush ( pun entirely intentional ) the movie is positively dripping dark Gothic sexuality. Not that is has any sex scenes per se ( though there is the least erotic lovemaking scene between the heroine, Rosaleen's, parents at one point ), but it's a Freudian orgy. Sensuality swamps practically every scene, and though it has been known for me to over-analyse a tad ;) it's hard to resist the urge to intermittently shout out "ooh, lipstick as a labia metaphor!" or "That tree has a phallus!" ( which is why I stopped watching films with my parents decades ago... I think I was embarrassing them.)
"Oh come ON Mum !!!! The tree quite obviously has a penis!!" "I think I'll go make a pot of tea now..."
Like the much later "Ginger Snaps" lycanthropy is pretty much a metaphor for sexual awakening, however, here the nature of the beast is firmly rooted in seduction. Even the walks in the mist-shrouded forests bring a quickening of the pulse that can't always be attributed to unease.
Possibly my fascination for this collection of stories within a story comes from seeing it for the first time when sexuality was foremost in my own mind. That said, it is classified as a horror movie and has a couple of impressive wolf transformations that haven't aged too badly, though they distracted me from my preferred focus of the Gothic ambiance. In my world Beauty and the Beast wouldn't have been totally ruined by the Beast becoming yet another bland Prince, and the happy couple would have embraced their attraction and maybe popped out a few puppies or something. But then I would have preferred Beauty to have not been put off by her beau having a bit of extra fur on him. Likewise, when the wronged 'witch' in one of the tales exposes the vile aristocracy for the savage beasts they truly are, and thereby commanding the respect she deserved, then I, for one, cheered her on.
If I were to have one criticism it would be this : the movie is often interpreted as having a feminist bias, with the men all being portrayed as beasts in disguise, cruel brutes, or seducers. Whilst I can see why a confused and blossoming pubescent girl may see things this way it's only balanced by a quote from Rosaleen's mother that goes, "It there's a beast in men it meets it's match in women too."
Things this film has taught me? 1) If his eyebrows meet in the middle and he speaks with an accent then he wants in her pants. And 2) "My, what big teeth......." leads exactly where you'd expect it to.
Some fabulous little performances all round, but you don't really watch it for the Oscar winning acting. Give it a go, you might actually like it if you have a taste for the quirky with a slight under-taste of perverse.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The one main reason why I wanted to see this is because I have seen it
compared very regularly to a similar (but less arthousey) movie Ginger
Snaps. After watching this I can see why. Both of them use lycanthropy
as a metaphor for growing up. When I compare both I don't know which I
prefer, mainly because both use completely different methods of getting
this message across.
The plot is that Rosaleen's sister dies because she went into the woods and strayed from the path. After her funeral her grandmother (Angela Lansbury) takes Rosaleen into her house for the night and tells her a story about newly-weds. The groom (Stephen Rea) leaves on their wedding night inexplicably and returns years later after the bride knows the truth, marries another and has three kids, basically telling Rosaleen that men are beasts. Then there are a few other stories told like a man getting hair growth and being taken by the forest (I know, weird) and a wedding reception where the groom gets a visit from a woman he impregnated and the impregnated woman turns all the guests into wolves. Then we have a basic retelling of Little Red Riding Hood, only this time The Huntsman and The Wolf are one and the same character. Rosaleen then tells the story of a She-Wolf getting shot and injured, then transforms back into a woman in front of a priest who heals her wound and afterward hides. Rosaleen then accepts that she wants to change into a wolf and does so.
Okay, if you are interested yet art-housy movies dripping with symbolism that you have to work out aren't your taste then instead try Ginger Snaps instead (yes that movie also has symbolism but it's a lot more subtle). If however you do enjoy movies like this then pick it up immediately.
Rosaleen is a young and innocent girl who dreams of living in an 18th century rural village, and through the framing device(note that this does require you to pay close attention and analyze the content) of her experiencing or being told stories of werewolves(and no, not all of the ones seen in this are dogs !), mostly by her overprotective Granny(Angela Lansbury), their sexual connotation is explored. There is *a lot* to think about in this, and the 90 or so minutes pass incredibly fast, and you'll find yourself gripped by it. The dialog is marvellously written, and most lines have significance or deeper meaning to them. I have not read the stories by Angela Carter that this is based upon, but I would like to. This is like a folkloric fairytale, and it's a brilliant piece of cinematic fantasy. It's visually stunning, with numerous symbolic images, surreal sights and sounds, a creepy, chilling atmosphere and a haunting score. We get several impeccable and terrifying transformations, and in general, the FX, whilst somewhat dated today, are fantastic. The acting is spot-on, for everyone, including the animals(!). Patterson takes your breath away, and her appearance and movements perfectly illustrate her curiosity and gradually disappearing childhood. Stamp shines in a cameo. The director of Interview with a Vampire shows his skill in this, too... I understand that The Crying Game is also well worth the time. There is brutal, disturbing content and a little tasteful nudity in this. The DVD comes with a trailer that gives a lot away. I recommend this to those who love thinking about the films they watch. It is a strange picture that not everyone will like, though. 8/10
although it has been awhile since i have seen this film, i remember it
being incredibly surreal yet visually stunning as well. whenever weird
films are brought up in conversation, i usually mention this one.
true to the themes in many other of Neil Jordan's films (including Interview with the Vampire and The Crying Game) he utilizes man vs. nature theme as well as incorporating in androgynous characters. the film also hones in upon the idea of the werewolf as a more sensual mythological creature, the same idea he embellished in Interview with the Vampire by using sensual yet tragic beings of the damned. the werewolves in this movie are both beautiful and frightening.
see this movie if u are sick of bloody werewolf movies and if u wanna see a new spin on the topic.
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