Every reviewer didn’t dig every frame or every story point, but they were all immensely affected by the film, evident in what they wrote. Check out some snippets and click on the links to read the reviews in their entirety.
“The cinematic punch in the gut I so desperately needed before leaving SXSW and Austin, TX tomorrow morning,Ya’ke Smith’s feature film directorial debut Wolf is an audacious, potent drama that will likely elicit extreme reactions from viewers when it’s eventually in general release – reactions that will undoubtedly lead to fiery discussion centered around the central themes the film tackles.”
–Tambay Obenson, Indiewire: Shadow and Act
” Beautifully shot and heavy with incredible, intense performances, Wolf is a triumphant narrative, absolutely harrowing, and unflinching even at its most uncomfortable moments. Even the secondary performances, such as Carl’s grandmother (Hall), are so perfectly cast and bring their best until you are unable to look away from the screen. The film’s script is tight and fraught with tension, particularly during the religiously poignant moments— a heartwrenching scene of Jaymund struggling to come to terms with his son’s situation by asking if it could be punishment from God for his own infidelities is one example, and it is difficult to watch Nona’s unwavering and unrelenting love for her son war with her innate desire to do the right thing and bring his molester to light.”
–Amanda Rebholz, Planet Fury
“Writer/director Ya’Ke Smith has created a powerful drama about molestation in “Wolf,” which had its SXSW premiere Sunday night at a packed screening room at the Long Center.”
–Charles Ealy, Austin 360
Director Ya’Ke Smith’s first feature length film, “Wolf,” unflinchingly tackles the subject of sexual abuse of a teen by his local bishop. While any movie with similar subject matter as “Wolf” can ofttimes be heavy handed in its morality, I found that Smith has done a fine job of showing a sense of restraint and kept his film grounded in a tight sense of reality. Never once do the characters feel over the top or appear as caricatures. Cooper especially does a great job as the lead, showing a nice depth of emotion that captures both his guilt at what happened but also the complex empathy he feels for a man who has clearly done wrong.
–Noah Hill, Film Threat
“Ya’Ke Smith’s film, Wolf, picks up where Lee’s film went off the rails for good in taking a hot-button social issue and putting the humanity back where it needs to be – with the victims and their family.”
–Erik Childress, eFilmCritic
“Directed by University of Texas at Arlington film professor and San Antonio native Ya’Ke Smith, Wolf is an assured first feature loaded with performances of sustained intensity.”
–Chris Vognar, Dallas Morning News