Hour of the Wolf

Date: February 2013

Release Year: 1968, Director: Ingmar Bergman, IMDB Link

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Being an avid movie lover, I am embarrassed to say that  I don’t know a lot about Bergman except Persona. I recently decided to correct that terrible mistake, and set out to watch all of his important movies. This one was the easiest to get since Netflix had it. I am not disappointed, Hour of the Wolf is certainly a terrific movie and overall a mesmerizing experience.

Plot of the movie focuses on an artist who had retreated to a small house on an island with his wife. He is trying to focus on his work but he suffers from insomnia and tormented by his past life and mistakes. There is also a rich family living in a chateau on the same island, who eventually gets involved with the couple.

Most of the movie is shot in a dream-like tone. Flashbacks, present events and delusions are all seamlessly integrated into the storyline. I really loved this feature of the film, at first look it is impossible to tell if you are watching a flashback or a present event. As the story progresses, all the little pieces of information that was given to you starts to make sense and everything is tied down together at the marvelous ending sequence. However I wouldn’t call it a mystery movie, because the movie is more about making you experience the artist’s mental torment and inner journey, rather than surprising you with twists.

Thanks to brilliant cinematography of Nykvist, there are lots of images in the movie that will get stuck to your mind after watching it. I am a big fan of psychological movies, especially the ones that have the insanity as the main subject, yet I can’t name a lot of movies that translates mental state into series of images as successful as this movie does.

Overall, I am surprised that this is usually not counted among Bergman’s most successful movies. The main reason I did not give it a perfect score is because I know there are many other great movies made by him that is waiting to be discovered by me.

Definitive Scenes: The whole ending sequence, flashback with the kid, the magic flute puppets

Score: 9.0/10

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