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Time of the Wolf

Time of the Wolf (2003) by Michael Haneke

Time of the Wolf centres around a mother and her two children, who are left to fend for themselves in the wilderness, following an unspecified past apocalyptic event, that left the world in chaos and turmoil.

From time to time, I crave for some Haneke, and today was one of those days, so I decided to re-visit the film of his I thought of the least, and even though it would probably still place low on a ranking of his masterful films, I still took more out of it than ever during this second watch of mine.

Movies with similar backdrops approach the genre of catastrophe and disaster with exaggeration, which lets the viewer consume the material with enjoyment. If you know anything about Haneke, you would know that this is against the man's beliefs, so he takes a route opposite of the conventional. He showcases misery, despair, and the hopelessness of mankind when put in such conditions, while refraining from sugar-coating the true reality of the situation. Matter of fact, Haneke's brutal honesty is what makes his films so emotionally effective, time after time. He not only manages to make the viewer observe the nightmares lived by the characters, but experience them as well.

The characters of "Time of the Wolf" await some kind of saviour. Their perception of this saviour is in the form of a train, that will supposedly arrive and take them to a better place with better conditions. But even if that were the case, even if a train does eventually arrive to pick the survivors up, would it really matter, since mankind's true nature would expose itself regardless of its whereabouts.

The film might be tough to get through due to its dark themes and slow pacing, but I think it's well worth it, for the cinematography, for the performances, for all the subtleties one can pick up on during a second viewing, and more importantly, for its brave examinations of the presented characters.