A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Wolf's Call is a French (with English subtitles) thriller about imminent nuclear attack, and the efforts a French submarine crew makes to prevent a nuclear response. Mature language ("f--k" and "s--t") isn't unexpected given the setting and high-stakes circumstances. While no one spells out the disastrous implications (mass destruction and death) if nuclear war isn't averted, most teens will understand the threat. Two submarines torpedo each other and many men are killed and wounded in the bloody battle, but the larger takeaway is that loyalty of individual military men to each other is important, but difficult to weigh against loyalty to the military, country, and the good of humanity. A serviceman is kicked off a crew owing to traces of marijuana found in his drug test. Someone refers to a "spliff." Adults smoke cigarettes. A man and woman have sex. Breasts are shown briefly.
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What's the story?
THE WOLF'S CALL focuses on navy sonar expert Socks (Francois Civil), a young and talented submariner who has a gift for hearing what others can't hear through the murk of ocean depths. By sound alone, he can count the propellers of unseen enemy craft. He has an encyclopedic knowledge of what nation's vessels have which motors and how those motors sound. His certified ID can make the difference between his submarine attacking an approaching vessel or leaving it be. When it appears that Russia is making nuclear threats, France sends out a nuclear sub with the instructions that an order from the president may come to launch a retaliatory nuclear sub if Russia strikes first. Trouble is, it appears that a Middle Eastern nation has pulled a fast one designed to make it seem as if Russian has launched that nuclear threat, to trigger a destabilizing war among international superpowers. The French president orders the nuclear response which, for security purposes, shuts down communications with the nuclear sub so the order can't be rescinded. Socks figures out the "Russian" launch was a trick and spends the rest of the movie trying to warn his former commander helming the nuclear sub to stand down, with bloody results among a group of well-meaning French navy men fighting each other to save the world.
Is it any good?
There's much to recommend in this film, including taut pacing, a thriller premise, and an appealing lead character with a powerful set of ears. Plentiful naval jargon makes the plot feel both authentic and, in some instances, incomprehensible, but in general the action moves forward at a good clip and the simple task of preventing world-wide nuclear war is clear enough for all to understand. The Wolf's Call may be too confusing for younger teens, but given that many video games are more violent, blood and guts won't be too intense for those old enough to follow the plot turns. Older teens will understand the subtleties and mixed emotions of those who must destroy their friends in order to prevent world-wide destruction and death.
Talk to your kids about ...
Why is it important that military service men and women are bound to follow orders? To whom does a sailor owe loyalty in the instance of an incorrect order?
Do you think the men on the Titan were correct in ignoring Navy protocol in their effort to save the world from a nuclear war? Why or why not?
Why are there so many movies about potential nuclear threats? How does The Wolf's Call compare?
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