At a glance:
Raimo Niemi's Finnish family movie has some breathtakin shots of the Nordic woodlands. While it ain't exactly an offbeat TV movie, Suden Arvoitus is definitely more mystery than wolf - leadin to a general shortchange for anybody hopin for somethin more epic like White Fang (1991) or Call Of The Wild (1972). After a prologue by the river about a fishin accident, we fast-forward 11 years to when young Salla (Tiia Talvisara, pic) is now mothered by someone else (Miia Nuutila) other than her own (Vuokko Hovatta). The rebellious girl shares quite a few character traits with wolves. She has to work her way through the complicated social structure of her small mountain village and also deal with the return of her estranged mother. Soon, she finds herself fightin against time to save a pair of wolf cubs that are bein tracked by the village hunter Venesmaa (Peter Frenzen).
Bad news on the doorstep:
The shortchangin comes when the audience watches Salla retaliate against her mother by insistin that she sighted wolves and not huskies at the hills. What's the fuss about? This is because you will discover it is indeed true that wolves were not employed in the movie - merely wolfdogs, a sort of hybrid animal which results when wolves and dogs fuck. So if you were duped into marvellin at how Niemi managed to shoot so many glorious shots with the notorious canines, this little information might dent your impression on the showmanship of the film.
Child stars - what can you say, eh? Either you make it or you don't. IMDb doesn't list young Talvisara in anythin after this movie. The young Finn does possess some mystical aura to her (a kind of beastly quality) and uses it to good effect when the story suggests the equality of wolf and man. However, the suggestion is unfortunately, simply that – a suggestion. No more is explored. Salla's wrestle with her biological identity and her place in the world is only of token value.
Reminds me of:
European woodlands. Wish I lost more of me in there.
Amacam joker, berapa bintang lu mau kasi?
Peter Frenzen as the detestable Venesmaa injects some menace into an otherwise largely uneventful movie. While Suden Arvoitus doesn't do a complete disservice to the depiction of the wolves, the simplistic interplay between the human characters fails to pack a better punch, if you would pardon the pun. Ironically, Mystery Of The Wolf had little mystery, if at all. ★★ 1/2