Wolf Malayalam Movie Review

Feature Film
Shaji Azeez's Wolf toys with the idea of how toxic masculinity affects male-female relationships. It has an interesting premise, but the acting or the presentation does not quite make the film work. Ultimately, it all seems like just another product of lock-down boredom.
Apr 19, 2021 By Sreejith Mullappilly

In Shaji Azeez's new Zee5 film Wolf, a young woman tells a person not to stand behind her when she cooks. She is referring to a specific form of predatory behavior.

Wolf stars Arjun Ashokan as Sanjay, who drives a long way to the woman Anu's home to see her late at night. His friends tell him not to go there because the move would not surprise young women these days. But he would not listen to them because of a specific reason. Then, the government suddenly announces a nationwide lockdown, which makes it impossible for him to travel back home. In Anu's house, she and Sanjay meet a new character, and the film is about what happens between the trio.

Wolf is based on Malayalam author GR Indugopan's novel named 'Chennaya'. The movie has some interesting ideas such as the psychological effects of toxic masculinity on women and the fickle nature of relationships in this digital world. The above-mentioned predatory situation would come later in different parts of the movie differently as more of a recurring theme, but the film is ineffective at exploring it further. The film is problematic in the characterization of Arjun Ashokan's Sanjay, plus it does not quite make sense. Now, read the next two paragraphs if you have seen the movie because there could be slight spoilers in those.

Sanjay is the kind of man who feels that he has a sense of ownership over the woman in his life. It is a flawed mind-set that reeks of years of prejudice against women and a toxic male ego. But we do not quite see a specific shade of Sanjay for the character or the film to work. That has more to do with the performance of Arjun Ashokan than the writing. It is a facet he should internalize, but the actor has simply come up short.

Samyuktha Menon has the least interesting part of the three, and it does not help that the actor is also not up to the task. I could not tell whether Samyuktha's Anu is torn between two alpha males because both do not make her comfortable or because of another reason.

Irshad plays the other person in the house. The film's unintentionally funny moments feature this grossly underrated actor. He is poised and composed in many parts of the movie and riveting in others. Shine Tom Chacko and Jaffer Idukki play brief roles in the film.

Wolf is categorized as a thriller film. It may have the design of a home invasion thriller, but is it one? It is certainly another entry in what I want to describe as the 'lockdown boredom series of movies'. In other words, it is one of those films that seems to have been simply born out of lockdown boredom.

Sreejith Mullappilly