For the last few months, the whole world has gotten a taste, through the pandemic, of what it feels like to be isolated. For some, it has been an agonizing experience that is more torturous than the prospect for a deadly virus, but for others, life has barely changed. In a time where the home can have every amenity under the sun aside from the outside world, these people have everything they could need to live their perfect lives. Alone Wolf shows us such a person but raises the question, is that person missing out on life by living this way.
For the last two years, Jonathan has live alone in almost complete isolation, but he likes it that way. He has everything he could possibly need from his booming survival kit business to a nearby restaurant that delivers to him every day. That was until his packages started to get stolen, before a strange man accidentally killed his delivery man, and before Jon gave a woman he didn’t know sanctuary. Though she was a stranger that enters his life by happenstance, she may become his connection to the outside world and his teacher of what he has been missing in his life.
One thing that is never used frequently enough is the power of using the camera in adding tone and empowering the storytelling. Alone Wolf relishes in the use of the camera through extreme close-ups and busy environments inside Jonathan’s home, creating a sense of claustrophobia that the audience might feel in Jon’s life. In moments when Jon becomes overwhelmed or finds himself outside his home, everything becomes out of focus showing his confusion and distress. Along with the outside shots feeling more open and free when Jon begins to become acclimated to it, the camerawork is always taking the audience on the journey with him as his mental state shifts and grows to create an immersive experience.
While the plot and the tone are well set in the first half, the second half is where things don’t fit together as well. Everything in the third act comes to a head when our characters find themselves in a dangerous situation and while everything certainly thrills the audience, it comes in very heavy. I’ve talked about tonal whiplash in the past and Alone Wolf has two instances of it in a very short period in the finale, creating an emotionally draining sequence, and not for the better. It leaves the ending of the film feeling unresolved, unbalanced, and sadly empty.
With all his hands-on production experience the director, Charles Ehrlinger, knew how to make a film that set the tone of every scene perfectly. While there are moments in the script that fall short, along with scenes that just go on a bit long, for a first feature, Alone Wolf is an exceptional start. Be on the lookout for his next film to see where he take us from here.
6 out of 10