1800s

Skin of the Wolf below par

Skin of the Wolf is a 2017 Netflix offering in Spanish which drags the viewer through the slog of a mountain man who marries two wives, and has no success with either.

There’s hardly any dialogue, and hardly any story, and virtually no drama.The screenwriter and director, I suppose, were trying to make a point, but they miss the point in the dull, longish film which is beautiful in places. That’s the best that can be said for it.

Martinon,(Mario Casas) lives on a mountain in northern Spain and works as a trapper. The exact year of the story is left open to question. I’ve seen a time range suggeted from the 1830s to the 1890s. At the start of the film, a comrade suggests he get a dog to keep him company. When he turns that suggestion down, the man suggests he get a woman.

That idea appeals to Martinon, so he travels to town and negotiates for a wife. He has sex with this woman in a barn beforehand, but it’s not clear how he negotiates that. At any rate, he provides her father with some money and some valuable skins, and he brings the woman back to his mountain home, over hill and dale and up the mountain, using a rope in one place.

Martinon and his wife have little conversation but they do have sex. It’s not a pleasant scene. After a little time passes, she tells her husband she is pregnant.

We then jump to the birth scene, where the woman is left alone to have her baby. She screams and dies, along with the baby. Martinon rages in the graveyard, kicking over the crosses on the grave, and instead of burying his wife he wraps her corpse, drags it down the mountain again, and presents it to her father, telling him he got a raw deal and he wants a refund.

The father negotiates again, this time presenting his younger, more attractive daughter. Martinon makes her twirl around, then accepts her in payment, and once again, the two set off up the mountain.

This marriage, and the subsequent sex scenes, are even less successful than the first. This woman is clearly appalled each time she is mounted by a man who must appear to her to be an animal.

During all this, there is hardly any conversation.We’re not sure what the characters are thinking. We can’t even be sure what they’re doing, since there is so little said. An occasional tear leaks out, which gives us a clue to their emotions.

The end of the movie is unclear and unsatisfying. At the end, Martinon is alone again, just as he was when the film began. It’s stupefying.

The scenery in Skin of the Wolf is beautiful. I managed to watch it to the end, still waiting for something to happen. But nothing ever did.
Think twice before you watch this hour and a half film. While it is watchable, it is devoid of story and characters. I would suggest a rewrite of the script to begin.

Grade: D-

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