Superb acting salvages ‘The Wolfman’

The Wolfman

"The Wolfman" takes place in 1891 when the main character, Lawrence Talbot (Benicio del Toro, "The Usual Suspects"), returns from acting abroad. While in London, Talbot receives a letter from his brother’s fiancée, Gwen Conliffe (Emily Blunt, "The Young Victoria"), asking him to return to his childhood home to help search for his missing brother. By the time Lawrence arrives home, his brother’s body has been found viciously mauled. Lawrence tells Gwen he will devote himself to figuring out what happened to his brother, which leads to his eventual confrontation with his brother’s killer.

One of the most prominent characters portrayed in the movie is Francis Aberline, played by Hugo Weaving ("Lord of the Rings" series). Aberline is an inspector from the Scotland Yard, dedicated to finding the murderer who has been terrorizing the villagers. Although the character was predictable and classic in nature, Weaving made the role more than what it could have been.

Blunt plays a supporting role in this film as the ex-fiancée of Lawrence’s recently murdered brother. As Conliffe, she had the difficult task of convincingly playing the part of a grieving woman who is able to fall in love with the brother of the man she was to marry. Even though her character’s actions could have been seen as distasteful, Blunt was able to make her character likeable enough to leave the audience wanting to know her more.

Benicio del Toro had to convince the audience that he was experiencing a wide range of emotions in a very short amount of time. His performance was entertaining and he depicted the transformation of man to wolf well.

Anthony Hopkins ("The Silence of the Lambs") has a surprising role that viewers could not have predicted from watching the trailer. As Sir John Talbot, Hopkins plays an unusual character that leaves the audience hating and liking him at the same time. As always, Hopkins outperforms all the other actors, whether that be the point of the movie or not.

"The Wolfman" does an exceptional job of making the audience jump more than once. The transformation of man to wolf in the film is smooth and fairly convincing. While some movies leave the audience feeling like they have only heard one song throughout the movie, the soundtrack created by Danny Elfman is diverse enough to fit the mood for each scene, but similar enough to flow.

However, the script contains countless lines that were not only corny, but detracted from the seriousness of the movie in many scenes. While the transformation from man to wolf was done well, the end result was rather lame, depicting the classic wolfman. As the surrounding characters were realistic in their terror, the audience was left wondering, "was that Bigfoot, or a werewolf?" The two images are very similar.

"The Wolfman" delivers an entertaining story with excellent film work. However, cheesy lines and far too many cliché moments detract from the overall value of the movie.