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The Primordial Beast,
This review is from: Never Cry Wolf (Widescreen Edition) (DVD)
Never Cry Wolf along with The Bear make up the two great "green" movies of the 1980's. This film tells the odyssey of a man dispatched to study the wolves in the Canadian north to determine if they are killing the Caribou in the area. The simple plot can be interpreted on several different levels. For many it will be a simple adventure story. Some will learn something and overcome their misconceptions and suspicions about wolves (race). For others Tyler is a man who is an outsider and is detached from the civilized society he leaves behind only to become a member of the sylvan society he is sent to study. No longer in the constructed reality of man he begins to see the true reality that is nature. Tyler comes in touch with what Jack London called the "Primordial Beast". As Tyler gets in touch with the "Beast" within himself he learns what the wolf and the land means to others. To the Natives the wolf has a spiritual as well as an economic significance. The pilot who takes Tyler to the study area only sees the real estate value of the land. In the end it is not the wolf that is a threat to nature but man himself, no matter how harmoniously in touch with nature he may be, that is the culprit for all environmental crises.
NCW also has one of the more honest and truthful depictions of Native Peoples ever on film. The glimpse is of real people as opposed to actors playing a stereotypical role. Their authenticity, along with the wolves and cinematography, gives a documentary feel to the film. The cinematography is some of the best ever filmed. There is also little dialog in the film with the character's actions speaking louder than words.
NCW was also ahead of its time in 1983. With the current debate for drilling in ANWR and the reintroduction of wolves in the Southwest NCW is more relevant today than it was twenty years ago. NCW will make you want to put on a pack and trek 20 miles to the middle of nowhere and find your "Beast".