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The Lone Wolf

average rating is 4 out of 5


Alasdair MacRae


Posted on:

Nov 1, 2022

Film Reviews
The Lone Wolf
Directed by:
Filipe Melo
Written by:
Filipe Melo
Adriano Luz, Maria João Pinho, António Fonseca

A late-night radio host’s broadcast is interrupted by a figure from their past, turning their casual call-in chat show into a tense and revealing thriller.


Filipe Melo’s The Lone Wolf has the appearance of being shot in one unbroken take. This is a convention that has proven to be divisive, with recent films Birdman and 1917 provoking strong reactions from audiences. Unlike the two aforementioned features, The Lone Wolf takes place in a small controlled space, after walking down a short corridor our lead Vitor (Adriano Luz) is greeted by his producer, Sandra (Maria João Pinho), who hands him his mail, and he enters the adjacent recording studio, where most of the twenty-two minute short will take place.


As Vitor warms up the camera begins to slowly circle him clockwise, a consistent but incremental motion as he begins his opening spiel. He greets his listeners with a tongue-in-cheek “Good Morning”, and he introduces today’s topic, “emotions”, a blanketing white noise of waffle ensues and he takes his first caller. “Maria!”, he recognises her, a regular caller, and she in turn spouts nonsense. The camera passes by the window of the production booth and Sandra signals her boredom with Maria’s monologuing. Up next is Raul (António Fonseca), a man who knows Vitor, but the host cannot place him, after a clue he remembers that they used to holiday together some years back. Whilst exchanging pleasantries, Raul unveils that his teenage son committed suicide, and that it somehow connects to Vitor. The camera stops turning.


After a placid opening act, Melo’s film becomes a high-stakes thriller. The camera tilts and shifts uneasily as the power of the conversation lies off-screen with Raul, a man with a vendetta against the radio host and nothing to lose. The bass-y synth score relentlessly thrums as Vitor desperately fights to wrestle back some sense of control, but it is all in vain.


The Lone Wolf is an accomplished thriller with a focus on public unmasking. Director Filipe Melo utilises the overtness of the one-take appearance to amplify the mechanics of any changes to the visual norms established in the calm first act in the subsequent twists and turns. An astute choice, especially as it is used to contrast with the on-screen/ off-screen relationship between the protagonist and antagonist.

About the Film Critic
Alasdair MacRae
Alasdair MacRae
Short Film, World Cinema
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