The Wolf's Call

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The Wolf's Call
The Wolf's Call film poster.png
French theatrical release poster
Directed byAntonin Baudry
Produced by
  • Jérôme Seydoux
  • Alain Attal
  • Hugo Sélignac
Written byAntonin Baudry
Starring
Music byTomandandy
CinematographyPierre Cottereau
Edited by
Production
companies
  • Pathé
  • Trésor Films
  • Chi-Fou-Mi Productions
  • Les Productions Jouror
Distributed byPathé
Release date
  • 20 February 2019 (2019-02-20) (France)
Running time
115 minutes
CountryFrance
LanguageFrench
Budget$22.4 million[1]
Box office$24.4 million[2]

The Wolf's Call (French: Le Chant du loup) is a 2019 French drama thriller film directed and written by Antonin Baudry.[3] The film is about a submarine's sonar officer Chanteraide (François Civil), who must use his brilliant sense of hearing to track down a French ballistic missile submarine and end the threat of nuclear war.

Plot[edit]

The French submarine Titan is sent near the Mediterranean coast of Tartus, Syria to stealthily recover a French Special Forces unit operating in the area. However, during their mission they encounter an unidentified sonar contact. The sonar expert of the submarine, Chanteraide — nicknamed "Socks", who is renowned for his "golden ears"— first classifies the contact as a wounded whale, but it quickly turns out that the contact is an unknown submarine transmitting their position to an Iranian frigate and a maritime helicopter operating in the area. The helicopter launches depth charges in an unprovoked act of aggression. After evading the barrage, the Titan surfaces, and the captain shoots down the helicopter with a Panzerfaust 3. They recover the Special Forces unit and return to base.

When the Titan returns to base, the radio announces that Russia is invading Finland's Åland Islands, and that the French President has decided to send a naval task force to the Baltic Sea in support of Finland. Moscow then threatens nuclear retaliation against the French Republic. Chanteraide, trying to identify the unknown contact in Syria, discovers that it is in fact a Russian Timour III ballistic missile submarine, supposedly dismantled. The next day, the French military command detects a Russian R-30 nuclear missile being launched by the Timour III from the Bering Sea, prompting the French President to order the Formidable to launch its nuclear missiles against Russia in response.

In the command bunker, Chanteraide, while listening to the record of the launch, finds an anomaly: the missile is too light, because it was launched without a nuclear warhead. Reporting this to the admiral in command of the Strategic Oceanic Force (codename: ALFOST), he's present when the US Secretary of State calls the ALFOST to report a critical intel: the terrorist organisation Al-Jadida obtained the decommissioned Timour III and launched an empty missile at France, tricking the French into the irrevocable procedure to launch a nuclear counterstrike from the Formidable. The ALFOST and "Socks" then enter the Titan to stop this nuclear launch by all means necessary.

Production[edit]

Some scenes in the film are photographed in actual French submarines.[4]

Cast[edit]

Reception[edit]

The reviewer Anthony Kao from Cinema Escapist states that the film's military sequence depict a "more muscular France" with "French hard power" acting as part of a "more militarily assertive Europe", noting that these political storylines are influenced by director Antonin Baudry having "previously served as a high-ranking French diplomat.[5] Kao states that even though the film has an "...ambitious plot that spans multiple vessels, naval bases, and countries, it never gets weighed down or overly hard to follow", which contrasts from the typical French art film that North American audiences associate with that country, which is usually “esoteric and inaccessible.”[6]

Reviewer Brenden Gallagher from The Daily Dot calls the film "tense submarine warfare for Tom Clancy fans", a reference to Clancy's submarine classic The Hunt for the Red October.[7] Gallagher calls The Wolf's Call "...pulse-pounding action and military intrigue on a level you just don’t see from Hollywood filmmaking anymore" that is, while being "familiar and predictable", still a "well-constructed" movie.[8] He states that while the film's $22 million production budget is much lower than a similar US film would get, the French film does well within its budgetary constraints.[9]

Critical response[edit]

On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 91% based on 11 reviews, with an average rating of 6.25/10.[10]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "ALFOST" is not a name. It is an acronym designating the admiral commanding the SSBN fleet of the French Navy. It stands for AmiraL commandant la Force Océanique STratégique (Admiral commanding the Strategic Oceanic Force)

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Le Chant du loup (2019)". JPs Box-Office (in French). Retrieved 8 March 2019.
  2. ^ "The Wolf's Call". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 8 March 2019.
  3. ^ "Le Chant du loup". AlloCiné (in French). Retrieved 8 March 2019.
  4. ^ Gestrin-Hagner, Maria (11 June 2019). "Ryssland invaderar Åland på film – Frankrike sänder hjälp". Hufvudstadsbladet (in Swedish). pp. 4–5.
  5. ^ Kao, Anthony (29 July 2019). "Review: "The Wolf's Call" Shows France Still Has Military—And Cinematic—Relevance". www.cinemaescapist.com. Cinema Escapist. Retrieved 27 July 2019.
  6. ^ Kao, Anthony (29 July 2019). "Review: "The Wolf's Call" Shows France Still Has Military—And Cinematic—Relevance". www.cinemaescapist.com. Cinema Escapist. Retrieved 27 July 2019.
  7. ^ Gallagher, Brenden (22 June 2019). "Netflix's 'The Wolf's Call' offers tense submarine warfare for Tom Clancy fans". www.dailydot.com. The Daily Dot. Retrieved 29 July 2019.
  8. ^ Gallagher, Brenden (22 June 2019). "Netflix's 'The Wolf's Call' offers tense submarine warfare for Tom Clancy fans". www.dailydot.com. The Daily Dot. Retrieved 29 July 2019.
  9. ^ Gallagher, Brenden (22 June 2019). "Netflix's 'The Wolf's Call' offers tense submarine warfare for Tom Clancy fans". www.dailydot.com. The Daily Dot. Retrieved 29 July 2019.
  10. ^ "THE WOLF'S CALL (LE CHANT DU LOUP)". rottentomatoes.com. Retrieved 7 January 2020.

External links[edit]