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Wolf’s Calling japanese drama review
Wolf’s Calling
3 people found this review helpful
by The Butterfly
Feb 24, 2024
Overall 7.5
Story 7.0
Acting/Cast 7.5
Music 8.0
Rewatch Value 8.0

An heirloom's hidden past...

Wolf’s Calling is a stylish short film by director Toyoda Toshiaki with no dialogue. It is truly a mood piece bordering on samurai music video. This is the first film in his Resurrection trilogy followed by The Day of Destruction.

A young woman discovers a rusty revolver in a box and takes it out. The memories imbued in the cold steel open up for the audience. Several samurai gather at the Mountain Resurrection Temple-Wolf. Soldiers in blue uniforms join them shouting, the only human sounds in the film. A woman’s sash and hairpin are laid out by one samurai and another carries a child’s toy implying the reasons for their solemn assembly. They silently form ranks with knowing glances. Drums echo the sounds of the approaching enemy. Weapons are drawn as well as the revolver.

An impressive cast lent weight to the performances making me wish this had been a full-length film. While the samurai might have been avenging loved ones, the real inspiration for the film had more to do with Toyoda’s arrest for possessing an illegal firearm, cleared up when it was shown that it was a family heirloom dating back to WWII. Like him, when looking at family heirlooms I wonder about the stories and people behind them.

Though Wolf’s Calling was a short film, the shots of the warriors walking through the old growth forest to the temple were resplendent. The temple was used in this film and The Day of Destruction, I have yet to watch the third film. The Young American revolver style was first made in 1905 which if they did their homework would help to date the action in the past. The music filled in for the dialogue conveying the urgency and determination of the men involved. The body language of the actors also conveyed their deadly resolve.

The film is so short that I watched it twice, enjoying it more the second time. The acting, scenery, and music gave the glimpse into the family’s past a depth that in lesser hands would have fallen flat. After watching Wolf’s Calling and The Day of Destruction which were both low budget films, I’m looking forward to trying more of his work. If you’ve never watched a silent film this might be a good gateway film.

23 February 2024
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