26 June 2015 | jdesando
"Eccentric" may be too mild a description.
In Wolfpack, winner of the Sundance Grand Jury Award (2015), the Angulo family is indeed alone and secluded from its environment. Secluded in their Lower Eastside of Manhattan apartment, the 6 children have rarely gone outside because father deems New York too dangerous. That's not the exceptional part of this odd-ball documentary.
The WOW factor is that the kids have grown up relatively unscathed by their isolation. Their saving grace has been their movie addiction, wherein they re-enact scenes from famous films such as Reservoir Dogs and The Dark Knight. Although we don't actually see them filming, we do watch them create ingenious costumes and devise tableaux to emphasize the drama, albeit fictional, found outside their cramped world. As in the recent Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, young people are turning to movies for their societal awareness and outlet for their creative impulses. It could be much worse.
That's all there is, Folks. First-time helmer Crystal Moselle doesn't allow much more depth, for instance on what makes their strong but not particularly articulate father, who gave his children Sanskrit names, do the things he does like imprisoning his kids to avoid their ruin from the streets of New York. Or why mom has been mostly withdrawn yet loving. However as in Grey Gardens, we are privileged observers without restraint, a virtue in documentary film making.
It's just that beyond the cardboard box Batman costumes and impressive toy guns, not much else happens. Perhaps it's the Seinfeld "about nothing" motif but only without Jerry's wit.