Run a finger across some of those surfaces at Alistair Banks Griffin’s sophomore attribute”The Wolf Hour,” and it’ll come up slicked with sweat, dirt and also the remaining soot of town. It’s the summer of 1977, and it is hotter than hell. June Leigh (Naomi Watts) perches on the window sill of this squalid Bronx apartment she dares not depart, facing straight to a lethargic enthusiast that barely even stirs the wavy brown hair off her tacky shoulders. External, small blisters of violence and intimidation erupt on the tinder-box roads, and someplace nearby, Son of Sam is killing women with wavy brown hair.
“The Wolf Hour” is a strange movie, persuasive in its manner thanks to Watts’ tensile, dedicated performance as a once-celebrated feminist author now hemmed into her dead grandma’s apartment by paranoia and the demons unleashed by her before victory. Although there are different players, even if there’s a second guide in this near-single-location, near-one-woman-show, it’s likely Kaet McAnneny’s production style, that oozes menace and fail so viscerally it may also be ectoplasm. Khalid Mohtaseb’s supple photography, also, is a little miracle, never denying that the little area, but finding sufficient maneuverability inside it in order that a feeling of claustrophobia is evoked with no vision feeling nostalgic. However, for these strengths, along with the judicious use of Saunder Jurriaans and Danny Bensi’s nervy score, the movie lacks feel in which it needs it most — in June’s unraveling psychology.
She’s been holed up here for some time — long enough to get bags of garbage collecting flies together with the dusty draft of her next book from the living space, a system set up for paying the lease without even opening her door and a normal grocery delivery setup using the bodega nearby. Her isolation is virtually complete, except for a menacing buzzing intercom which crackles emptily when she replies, and to get a surprising, unwanted visit from her older buddy Margot (Jennifer Ehle), that attracts literal and figurative new air into her lifetime for an instant, until June alienates her . Besides that, she creates a testy bond with rescue boy Freddie (Kelvin Harrison Jr.) and struggles off the rapey improvements of a cop (Jeremy Bobb). But mainly, she chain-smokes, sweats to her drab tank fails to write.
For all of the hothouse menace Griffin summons, there’s something coldly thought about”The Wolf Hour.” Just as we believe June’s stress, as well as the acrid, stultifying weight of this humid atmosphere that amuses her like wet cement, we never sense for her. Case in point: she replays a videotape of a more put-together June being condescended to by a man interviewer and fitting him jab for jab, until he unleashes the revelation which undoes her completely and contributes to her present, straggly-haired, sweat-stained incarnation. On the 1 hand, it is a rather powerful method of cluing us in on backstory while still maintaining the rigor of this single-location premise. But her previous vicissitudes look so like that they happened to a different individual (one we never correctly fulfill ) that it is hard to invest in them.
This cautiousness also extends into the movie’s themes. Whereas there’s a democratic and also a course component to June’s paranoia, as an unstable, exposed white lady from a rich background residing alone and friendless in a mostly black, poor, socially explosive area, the movie shies away by a true exploration of the provocative scenario. And her imaginative battle is sabotaged:”The Wolf Hour” takes the idea of literary congestion too badly — because it does all: The portrayal of this classic’70s feminist as a being virtually defined by her strict humorlessness is some thing of a cliché by today. But in addition, it suggests that perhaps all June actually had to get those juices flowing was a halfway good sexual activity, which comes courtesy of a remarkably sensitive gigolo, superbly played with a soft-bodied, gentle-eyed Emory Cohen.
“The Wolf Hour” touches on volatile notions of racism, sexism, guilt, delusion and urban isolation, which it is frustrating that, such as the gun June obtains at one stage, they’re managed solely warily and then pushed below the floorboards. However,”The Wolf Hour” attempts to earn a five-course meal of their merest morsel, leaving Watts, on eminently watchable shape, to grind her teeth on a function much less meaty than it should have been.