Review: ‘True Wolf’

'True Wolf'

A Montana couple raising a canus lupus in captivity is chronicled in docu "True Wolf," which offers rather hazy argument in favor of reintroducing the species into areas where it's long been hunted out.

A Montana couple raising a canus lupus in captivity is chronicled in docu “True Wolf,” which offers rather hazy argument in favor of reintroducing the species into areas where it’s long been hunted out. Such efforts have been highly controversial, but Rob Whitehair’s documentary is one-sidedly pro, with no stats or clear history of related events. There’s just footage of the handsome female Koani over the years, admittedly a pleasant sight. Pic has been slowly opening around the country; trimmed, it will make a viable TV item.

Asked to raise and train a wolf pup for a film project, Bruce Weide and Pat Tucker decide to take on the considerable responsibility of keeping the fully grown Koani, a handful even after they get a dog to provide her constant company. She’s used as an “ambassador wolf” in educational presentations, especially at schools. But there’s strong popular opposition to placing these predators back in the wild; “True” basically dismisses such concerns as superstition-based, while interview clips are edited and scored to make a sole anti-wolf activist look shrilly unsympathetic. Packaging is OK, but material often feels repetitious and overstretched.

True Wolf

Production

A Shadow Distribution release of a Tree & Sky Media Arts production. Produced by Rob Whitehair, Pam Voth. Executive producer, Bruce Weide, Chris Palmer. Directed, edited by Rob Whitehair. Written by Whitehair, Bruce Weide.

Crew

Camera (color, HD), Whitehair, Pam Voth, Weide; music, Cody Westheimer. Reviewed on DVD, San Francisco, July 18, 2012. Running time: 76 MIN.

With

Bruce Weide, Pat Tucker, Alan Applebury, Ed Bangs, Ron Gillette, Graham Neale, Nancy Spagnoli, Jesse Applebury, Tempe Stahl Conway, Dana Franklin Welch, Chris Palmer.

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