Movie Details

MYSTERY OF THE WOLF

"Mystery Of The Wolf" is a story about Salla facing her own past. Besides blood ties, Salla and Laila are united by their mysterious connection with nature and animals. In spite of her youth, Salla has to brave difficulties and make solutions, which challenge the community and which simultaneously force her to define her own relationship with her biological mother and her adoptive parents. At the same time, she is faced with another challenge - she has saved two wolf cubs from being illegally hunted by poachers. Wolves are an endangered species but still a threat to the local livelihood, reindeer husbandry. The hiding and rescuing of the cubs from the poachers becomes a mission where Salla has to trust her instincts, her best friend and even her long lost mother.

Language: Finnish
Subtitle: Na
Classification: U
General Release Date: 09 Dec 2007
Genre: Drama
Running Time: 1 Hour 30 Minutes
Distributor: GOLDEN SCREEN CINEMAS
Cast:
Director:
Format: NA



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Review
Writer: Ezekiel Lee Zhiang Yang

Writer Ratings:
Overall: 2.5 Out of 5
Cast: 3.0 Out of 5
Plot: 2.5 Out of 5
Effects: 0.0 Out of 5
Cinematography: 3.5 Out of 5

Watch this if you liked: "Call Of The Wild", "Elina" and "White Fang"

Raimo Niemi's "Suden Arvoitus" (as it is known in its native Finnish) is a family movie with some rather breathtaking shots of the Nordic woodlands. While it isn't exactly an offbeat TV movie, "Mystery Of The Wolf" is definitely more mystery than wolf - leading to a general short-change for anybody hoping for something more epic like "White Fang" or "Call Of The Wild".

It sure starts well enough, though. After a prologue by the river about a fishing accident, we fast-forward 11 years to when young Salla (Tiia Talvisara) is now mothered by someone else (Miia Nuutila) other than her own (Vuokko Hovatta). A rebellious girl, she is shares quite a few character traits with wolves. She has to work her way through the complicated social structure of her small mountain village, not to mention having to deal with the return of her estranged mother. Soon, she finds herself fighting against time to save a pair of wolf cubs that are being tracked by the village hunter Venesmaa (Peter Frenzen).

The short-changing comes when the audience watches Salla retaliate against her mother by insisting that she sighted wolves and not huskies at the hills. What is the fuss about? This is because you will discover it is indeed true that wolves were not employed in the movie - merely wolfdogs, a sort of hybrid animal the result of wolves and dogs mating. So if you were duped into marvelling at how Niemi managed to shoot so many glorious shots with the notorious canines, this little information might dent your impression on the showmanship of the film.

Worse, those who come to be inspired by a powerful coming-of-age tale are told to settle for just the impressive acting of young Tiia Talvisara. The young Finn does possess some mystical aura to her, a kind of beastly quality inherent in the wolves, and uses it to good effect when the story suggests the equality of wolf and man. However, the suggestion is unfortunately, simply that - a suggestion. No more is explored. Salla's wrestle with her biological identity and her place in the world is only of token value.

Peter Frenzen as the detestable Venesmaa injects some menace into an otherwise largely uneventful movie. Perhaps the decidedly umum nature of the film dictated how far or how dark it could go. While "Suden Arvoitus" does not do a complete disservice to the depiction of the wolves, the simplistic interplay between the human characters fails to 'pack' a better punch, if you would pardon the pun.

Ironically, "Mystery Of The Wolf" had little mystery, if at all.

Cinema Online, 23 September 2008




 
 
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