Movie Review: ‘Lone Wolf’

Review by James Lindorf

Every year the wealthiest 19 countries and the European Union gather for the G20 summit, an intergovernmental forum to discuss major issues related to the global economy, such as international financial stability, climate change mitigation, and sustainable development. Because this group of 20 controls nearly 90% of the world’s money, the summits are often met with protests. Winnie (Tilda Cobham-Hervey), her boyfriend Conrad (Josh McConville), and her younger brother Stevie (Chris Bunton) plan to make sure this year is no exception. Through the use of untraceable fax machines, the trio plans small non-violent protests while working at their small book and adult video store. When another environmental activist group convinces Conrad to plot what they call a “victimless atrocity,” the trio becomes intangibly linked to police and state officials with devastating consequences. “Lone Wolf” will begin a limited theatrical run and be available on VOD platforms on September 24th.

Found footage movies tend to stick to the horror genre and occasionally branch out to action, but as far as I know, this is the first political thriller to take this non-traditional approach to cinematography and storytelling. The film’s setup is done traditionally, and there are a couple of cheats to get around the areas where you wouldn’t expect to have video cameras or audio. Still, the majority of the film is presented found footage style. The story begins with Kylie (Diana Glenn) barging into the office of the Minister of Justice (Hugo Weaving), demanding that he watch a video file she has prepared for him. The video is cobbled together from dozens of cameras within the book store and around Australia. They go so far as to say that Winnie and Conrad just never bothered to check that the cameras in their shop no longer worked. That is why they talk about their conspiracies like no one is watching or listening.

It doesn’t make any logical sense. Who is paying for these cameras or the device storing the footage? Or is the government tapping into every camera in the country with an infinite amount of storage? Again, it doesn’t make any sense, but you have to let things like that go for a found footage film to work. Beyond that, you see that writer/ director Jonathan Ogilvie and cinematographer Geoffrey Simpson managed to piece together a decent-looking film from dozens of sources.

Mixing activists on the brink of becoming terrorists, crooked cops, the government infringing on the citizens’ privacy, and a lone cop on the hunt for justice provides all the raw materials for a dynamic story. Unfortunately, Ogilvie couldn’t match the energy level of the premise with the complete story. With the found footage element, you have to have jumps in time and logic, and it detracts from what could be a fascinating story. We should get to see all of the stress, fear, and possible grief that comes with Conrad choosing to work with this other, more violent group. Instead, it quietly plays out in the background with no emotional weight.

Disjointed, ineffectual, artistic, and an interesting concept are the best ways to describe “Lone Wolf.” Glenn and Weaving give the movie’s best performances, but they lack the screen time to make a significant impact on the overall product. Found footage may be an approach best left to genres where finer details and emotions aren’t as necessary for crafting a successful film. “Lone Wolf” earns a 2 out of 5 for having the nerve to try something different and not falling completely flat.

Genre: Drama, Mystery & Thriller
Original Language: English
Director: Jonathan Ogilvie
Producer: Mat Govoni, Adam White
Writer: Jonathan Ogilvie
Release Date: September 24th
Runtime: 1h 39m
Distributor: Gravitas Ventures
Production Co: Future Pictures

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