Rotterdam 2021: Reimagining Joseph Conrad in Lone Wolf, exploring motherhood in Aurora

Posted on February 3, 2021


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The fact that almost all the primary characters are seen through video footage becomes a distancing device, which is probably intentional. But it also makes it hard to invest in the stakes.

Spoilers ahead…

Jonathan Ogilvie’s Lone Wolf is based on The Secret Agent by Joseph Conrad. The outline is the same. The characters come with the same names. The setting, however, is Australia in the very near future. There are cameras everywhere, even inside the smoke detectors at homes. As the film opens, a former police officer named Kylie (Diana Glenn) walks in (rather, barges in) to see the Minister of Justice (Hugo Weaving). She has something to show: a “timeline” of events she has created using electronic surveillance footage and decrypted caches. I found this framing device rather clumsy (it’s too obvious a set-up), but it does the job. Through the stream of video footage being viewed by the Minister, we enter the world of the people whose story we’ll follow: Conrad (Josh McConville), his animal-rights activist girlfriend Winnie (Tilda Cobham-Hervey), and her developmentally challenged brother Stevie (Chris Bunton).

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