Direction: Antonin Baudry
The Wolf’s Call is a competent French high-tech thriller that belongs to the submarine subgenre. Written and directed by Abel Lanzac under the pseudonym Antonin Baudry, the film builds a curious premise with a statement by Aristotle: “the human beings come in three kinds: the living, the dead, and those who go to sea”.
François Civil stars as Chanteraide, an expert in underwater acoustics, who, unexpectedly, becomes the key element to avoid a nuclear war with the Russians. Even if this sensitive man doesn’t work so well under pressure, occasionally letting the nerves take care of his mind, his immediate superiors, Grandchamp (Reda Kateb) and D’Orsi (Omar Sy), are aware of how valuable his ears can be.
Due to precipitate acts of hostility, a world crisis erupts and the already shady enemy becomes invisible, forcing the French Navy to fight their own submarines to avoid a global catastrophe. Later on, is the ALFOST (Mathieu Kassovitz), a French acronym for Admiral commanding the Strategic Oceanic Force, that has no other option rather than trust Chanteraide in order to free him from the imbroglio he created himself.
Whereas the underwater scenes are nail-biting, fueled with both oppression and tension, the scenes ashore are a drag, emotion-wise. Lanzac could have been less lenient in giving shape to the main character as well as introducing a redundant romance, which only serves to attenuate the excitement. Nevertheless, the overall balance is positive, thanks to the competent sound design by Randy Thom (Wild at Heart; The Revenant) and a cast that responded well to the challenges of making this chaotic scenario a realistic experience.
Far from blowing my mind, The Wolf’s Call does what it needs to do, and surprises, in some ways.