Song of the Wolf: a great underwater thriller (review)

Song of the Wolf: a great underwater thriller (review)

Le Chant du loup is a total success in its field, that of mental, refined and human action cinema. We adopt.

Released in cinemas in February 2019, The song of the wolf will be offered this evening on M6, followed by a documentary on nuclear submarines. First strongly advise you to discover this ambitious French film carried by a nice cast: François Civil, Omar Sy, Mathieu Kassovitz, Reda Kateb… Here is our review.

Off the Syrian coast, a French submarine waits to pick up a special unit of combat swimmers. But another submersible is lurking, and only the young Chanteraide, “the golden ear” of the French ship, is able, using his headphones and microphones, to decipher the sounds of the sea and to locate the enemy submarine.

The tension is maddening, yet it is only the introductory scene of the song of the wolfand the whole film could be held there, encapsulated in its somewhat do-it-yourself submersible cockpit: these crewmen who huddle in a small space using an esoteric, incomprehensible language, stuffed with numbers and symbols (“Find me a solution in 5-0-7!” I adopt! ») which gives an inimitable poetry (although military) to the slightest sentence.

This technical language is also that of American action cinema, to which The song of the wolf refers constantly: we obviously think of the double Hunting for Red October And USS Alabamatwo submarine films designed as mental duels, games of wargames under water and between men.

Although very virile, Baudry’s film is not a gleaming actioner either, with sexy women, Slavic villains and big tuned cars – the formula that the genre was all about in France during the twenty years of EuropaCorp domination. But, despite square production (and the support of the army, essential to carry out production of this magnitude), The song of the wolf is not Knights of Heaven under the fleet.

For his first production, Antonin Baudry, author of the comic strip Quai d’Orsay (under the pseudonym of Abel Lanzac), does not consider his film as a document or as a political metaphor but as a real thriller, where the characters identify with their function. François Civil, Omar Sy, Reda Kateb and Mathieu Kassovitz: the golden ear as autistic as he is hotheaded, the human and heroic non-commissioned officer, the calculating and cold commander, the veteran and uncouth admiral…

It is not the least of the merits of the film to think of the deck of a submarine as that of a scene where some of the greatest are agitated -both in terms of performance and stature- contemporary French actors, and to make its spectator identify with the character of the little new François Civil (already amazing in burn outan overstyled motorcycle film and not so far from the song of the wolfbut which you may have missed in theaters last year).

Baudry, a former diplomat, comes from the world of language and writing, and you can feel it (the film opens with a nice quote from Aristotle): from a technical point of view, his first film inevitably bears traces of oil and running-in, and fails to achieve the purity of Swiss watchmaking, but on arrival, its song of the wolf stands thousands of nautical miles beyond the competition in terms of ambition and stature. And the result is there.

You grab your chair, you hold your breath, you feel like you are with the characters, driven by their sense of loyalty and friendship (and not their sense of cocky duty) to accomplish an unimaginable sacrifice. Under its unprecedented ambition in the genre of war films, here is a cinema of men, not ballsy (although a little sacrificed, the only female character embodied by Paula Beer will give the film a superb and heartbreaking final shot) neither macho; a cinema that seeks pure action and, to this end, puts humans at the center of its mechanics. Despite its radically new appearance in the French cinematographic landscape, go see The song of the wolf is not a patriotic duty. It’s simply an opportunity to discover a good film, a real one.

trailer of song of the wolf :

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