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This Review Reveals Minor Details About the Plot.

Action, camera!

The Wolfpack (2015) on IMDb

Plot Overview

We open with a long shot centered on a tall building behind a wire fence patterned in squares. Trash is blowing about on the ground. If society is represented by the wire grid, this building sticks out like sore thumb. The camera moves in to capture: Property of New York Housing Authority, on the Lower East Side, NYC. An inside shot takes us down some cluttered hall­ways, past some movie props & posters to a punctilious, amateur reenactment of Quentin Tarantino's “Reservoir Dogs.” There are six brothers, teenage and younger, putting it on: Mukunda, Narayana, Govinda, Bhagavan, Krisna & Jagadesh. They have a younger sister Visnu as well. Since Krishna had ten children from each of his wives, their ambitious father Oscar Angulo gave them all Hindu names. Their fruitful mother Susanne reached her physical limit at seven. We are looking at a movie cult with religious trappings, confined to one family.

The oldest brother Mukunda narrates that, “Our father brought movies into our lives.” Five thousand movies on various physical media. “Our movies helped us create our own kind of world,” he says. “My parents didn't always encourage us to communicate with society.” They got out of the house maybe once a year, up to nine times in a busy year, and one year not at all. “We were in a prison,” he tells us.

The father, of native Indian extraction from Peru, couldn't abide a regular “slave” job, but he was open to working on projects—we assume The Wolfpack Project was one of them. The mother who “grew up in the mid­west in the middle of farm country” is “approved to be a teacher” at this “houses of education.” She gets paid by the state. It's “our mom [who] always kept our sanity,” says the eldest. It was “After I saw ‘The Dark Knight’ it made me feel some­thing was possible to happen.” The 15-year-old decides to make a break for it. That's probably how he came to the attention of director Crystal Moselle who jumped in at this point to make a documentary.


punching out Since the principals get interviewed, lets look at their ideologies. The father said it was the mission of Jesus “to forgive every­body.” That comports well with a lot of scripture including, (Sirach 2:11a) “For the Lord is full of compassion and mercy, long­suffering, and very pitiful, and forgiveth sins.” (Eph. 4:32) “And be ye kind one to another, tender­hearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.” (Mark 11:25-26) “And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.”

He had a classic Indian's aversion to working on the clock, but historically Englishmen had the same. From Robert E. Dickinson: “The Industrial Revolution had its beginnings in England and in the adjacent countries of the Continental main­land in the last decades of the nineteenth century” (69). Continuing with Edward T. Hall (5–6):
In England during the early days of the Industrial Revolution, when villagers and field hands were brought into factories to work, the first generations of mill hands had not been conditioned to the factory whistle and linear-scheduled time. Like all preindustrial peoples, when they earned enough to pay off their debts and keep body and soul together for a while, they would quit and go home, much to the consternation of the factory owners. This situation could have continued indefinitely if there had not been a hidden trap—children. Not only were there no child labor laws then, but no one to care for the children at home; so the malleable children worked with their parents in the factory, and being young, they became imprinted by the whistle. When they grew up they brought up their own children accordingly, thereby setting in motion a series of events and ways of handling time which fit neither the psychic nor the physical needs of the workers. However, because the adaptation to the linear schedule had become internalized and automatic, it was viewed as an asset and not a liability. It has taken almost a century and a quarter to begin to work itself out. Today children are brought up on a different time system—one that is less obviously tied down in time and space, and to single institutions; there is also growing pressure to over­come monotony and the tempo conflicts between man and the machine. Because we have put our­selves in our own zoo, we find it difficult to break out. Since people can't fight institutions on which their lives depend, the result is that first they unconsciously turn their anger inward then later outward.

His children all look well-fed—he makes grocery runs. They're well groomed and for what it's worth they've got great looking teeth. They're educated, albeit at home. This family did at one point attract the attention of the authorities, but in the end all they were issued was an e-mail address and an apology.

He wanted to withdraw from a world he didn't like. How bad is that? (Enoch 48:7) “And the wisdom of the Lord of Spirits has revealed Him to the holy and righteous; for He has preserved the lot of the righteous, because they have hated and despised this world of unrighteousness, and have hated all its works and ways in the name of the Lord of Spirits. For in His name they are saved, and He will be the avenger of their lives.”

The teenage rebellion resulted in one kid smoking cigarettes and then taking his bros on walks around town to engage in various mundane activities. True, that's what most kids do to begin with, but when they rebel, what then?

The mother observes, “Too much of anything is not good.” Temperance means moderation in thoughts, feelings, and actions. (2Pet. 1:6) “And to knowledge [add] temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness.” (Wisdom 7:5–8a) “If riches be a possession to be desired in this life; what is richer than wisdom, that worketh all things? And if prudence work; who of all that are is a more cunning work­man than she? And if a man love righteousness, her labours are virtues: for she teacheth temperance and prudence, justice and fortitude: which are such things, as men can have nothing more profitable in their life. If a man desire much experience, she knoweth things of old, and conjectureth aright what is to come: she knoweth the subtilties of speeches, and can expound dark sentences.”

The boys glory in the new words they've picked up on the outside: “google, cool, dude, nigah, & like.” One of these causes a lot of people to get all out of joint over it. Martin Luther King Jr. (MLK) in his “Letter from Birmingham Jail” replied to eight Alabama clergymen. He “paused … to answer criticism of my work and ideas … Since I feel that you are men of genuine good­will and your criticisms are sincerely set forth.” MLK complains to them of “when your first name becomes ‘nigger’.” However, we read (Acts 13:1) “Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as … Simeon that was called Niger.” Here Simeon (a teacher/prophet) was called Niger—meaning black in Latin—as if that were his first name. It was a term of respect. Later in his letter MLK lauds, “the tire­less efforts and persistent work of men willing to be coworkers with God”—like prophets, teachers, etc. He ends his letter with an apology: “If I have said any­thing in this letter that is an over­state­ment of the truth and is indicative of an unreason­able impatience, I beg you to forgive me.” A blanket condemnation of the word “nigah” is an over­reach. These boys were, like, just trying out new, cool words they'd come across.

Production Values

“The Wolfpack” was directed by Crystal Moselle and wasn't scripted, near as I could tell. Any star power would have come from the six brothers who were used to playing in home productions although none of them outdid himself.

MPAA rated it R for language. Allow me to comment on that. In Paul Goodman's short story, “The Propriety of St. Francis,” Francis comes upon a man who is cursing after having lost his job. Francis's comfort includes telling him of a natural order, “‘in language, there is this propriety,’ continued the Saint. ‘I hate to see a man use Billings­gate every day, for then, when he is really in a rage, how can he make him­self emphatic? … ¶‘Your speech I approve of. There is a time to be courteous, and a time to curse. On the other hand, there is never a time to take the name of the Lord thy God in vain’” (133). The Angulo boys never use God's name improperly, but they sprinkle their regular discourse with bad words, especially once they get out­side. These are words they would have had to have learned from the movies. Yet in the movies they would have been uttered in dire circumstances, not during a walk in the park. This flick wasn't scripted; that's just the way it turned out.

It looked like it was shot through a single camera inter­twined later with some home video footage from earlier years. Good editing made it bearable.

Review Conclusion w/ Christian Recommendation

This one is not really a nail-biter, but the material is interesting if you like to get a peek at an unusual living situation. The major adjustment of the siblings to life on the out­side was the salient stuff of the movie, inter­spersed with home-shot footage as flash­backs and some sporadic interviews of mom and pop. What you see is what you get.

Movie Ratings

Action factor: No action, no adventure. Suitability For Children: Not Suitable for Children of Any Age. Special effects: Wake up and smell the 1990s technology. Video Occasion: Good for a Rainy Day. Suspense: Not suspenseful at all. Overall product rating: three stars out of five.

Works Cited

Scripture quoted from the King James Version. Pub. 1611, rev. 1769. Software, print.

Apocryphal scripture taken from The Septuagint with Apocrypha: Greek and English. U.S.A.: Hendrick­son Pub. Originally published by Samuel Bagster & Sons, Ltd., London, 1851. Print, WEB.

Dickinson, Robert E. “The Growth of the Historic City,” reprinted from The West European City: A Geographical Interpretation, chap. 15, pp. 270–300 (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, Ltd., 1951), as quoted in Harold M. Mayer and Clyde F. Kohn, Readings in Urban Geography. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1965.

Goodman, Paul. The Break-Up of Our Camp. Stories 1932–1935. Volume I of Collected Stories edited by Taylor Stoehr. Santa Barbara: Black Sparrow Press, 1978. Print.

Hall, Edward T. Beyond Culture. Garden City, New York: Anchor Books, 1977. See Sebastion De Grazia, Of Time, Work and Leisure. New York: Twentieth Century Fund, 1962.

Johnson, Ken, Th.D. Ancient Book of Enoch. USA, 2012. Print.

King Jr., Martin Luther. Letter From Birmingham Jail. 1963. Print.