It isn’t often you come across a film that has a deep meaning about breaking away from society, yet holds no feeling of being relatable whatsoever. “Wild” is slow-going, the lead character too bizarre to be relatable, and the film sometimes feels too random and perhaps too abstract to be enjoyable.
Ania (Lilith Stangenberg) lives a particularly dull and mundane life in Germany. She goes to work, where her boss (Georg Friedrich) smacks the glass to her office to get her attention. This means he wants coffee. She walks through life looking and acting more like a zombie than a human being, going to the work party because she feels obligated to and talking to her sister in monotone over video chat. In essence, you’re supposed to understand what her life feels like, except for the fact that Ania herself has little personality, which makes it hard to sympathize with her. She’s too much of a loner and her interactions so minimal that it’s hard to distinguish any particular traits.
On the walk home from work one day, Ania spots a wild wolf roaming the forest near where she lives. Quickly, she takes interest in the wolf, almost to the point of infatuation. She begins researching wolves, asking butchers what if they eat raw meat, and plots to capture the wolf and take him back to her apartment. That’s where things start to get really strange. Ania begins losing touch with the real world and draws closer to the wolf at every turn. She abandons her job, showing up sporadically, and slowly strips herself of her humanity as she pushes herself more and more towards the animal world and freedom.
At first, you’re willing to take “Wild” at face value and the pull that Ania has toward the animal world is so strong, she comes off as an anarchist who wants to be rid of society and its disease. But the way the movie situates itself in that Ania is the one taking the wolf away from his natural habitat by capturing him makes her seem desperate for some kind of connection, and frankly doesn’t do any favors for the wolf. Furthermore, it becomes a bit disturbing when she begins to be drawn to the wolf sexually and you wonder if it’s the pull toward the animal world that has her so possessed or she’s just so far removed from her humanity and society that she needs to get in touch with her own animalistic instincts that has her acting the way she does.
“Wild” has the right idea with society and breaking free from its monotony and going back to something simpler and instinctual, but it perhaps doesn’t take the right steps in executing the idea. Director Nicolette Krebitz explores the ideas presented in her own unique way. Unfortunately, the story is too slowly paced, Ania is not relatable in any way, and the execution far too abstract to make it a film worthy of being a must-watch.