The first film in my first match-up in the third round of the 80s US Bracket is all about a naked guy running with some caribou!
Screenplay By: Sam Hamm, Curtis Hanson, & Richard Kletter
Directed By: Carroll Ballard
I spent the majority of Never Cry Wolf wanting Charles Martin Smith to shut up, but he kept talking and talking. It wasn’t until near the end of the movie that my wife voiced why I was struggling with his narration so much, “he is so emo.” Her words hit me like a ton of bricks, Smith’s character was super whiny even when he didn’t mean to be. He reminded me of the kids I knew growing up who preferred to sit in the corner of the lunchroom and mumble to themselves about the inadequacies of life. Obviously Martin, as Tyler, was out in the world doing something about the inadequacies that plagued him. The whining was still present though, and once my wife implanted the thought in my head I couldn’t get past the idea of Charles Martin Smith as an emo kid who just won’t shut up.
I know my opening paragraph makes it seem like I harbor no love for Never Cry Wolf whatsoever. That is not the case, I did come away from Never Cry Wolf liking it a fair bit and even loving certain aspects. I have my issues with the film, issues that I believe are rather sound, but it’s not a terrible film or a terrible experience. Charles Martin Smith isn’t as bad as I made him sound, his narration may get annoying but he plays his character rather well. He is a good entry point for the story, and his performance has moments of comedy peppered in between the poignancy.
The reason I wasn’t as impressed by Never Cry Wolf as some other people were boils down to how uneven I found the film to be. I think at a certain point I wanted a film that was completely willing to leave the narration and the story points behind to focus on the nature found in the story. That wasn’t this movie though, and that’s where the unevenness comes into play. There were certainly moments of poignancy and spots within Never Cry Wolf where I was deeply immersed in what was on my screen. Those moments were less than the moments where I found what was happening rather trite and forced. That doesn’t add up to a bad movie or a movie that one must avoid, but it does add up to an uneven picture that squandered a lot of opportunities to be a more well rounded film.
I’m not walking away from the experience of Never Cry Wolf upset, or wishing I had spent my time elsewhere. Never Cry Wolf is a picture of good quality, especially in its visuals and in its ability to capture the majority of its events naturally. There’s still the issue of the narration and of the artificial nature of Brian Dennehy (and friends) that never sat well with me. Interesting visuals and a few daring moments make Never Cry Wolf a picture worth your time but it’s too darn uneven.