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In 'Wolf' an ex-con is fighting to survive his violent world

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'Wolf'

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“Wolf” is a film noir action thriller and crime drama written and directed by Jim Taihuttu. The protagonist is Majid (Marwan Kenzari), a handsome and intense alpha dog. At the beginning of the film, Majid has just come back from prison and reunites with his best friend since childhood, Adil (Chems Eddine Amar), a hard-scrabble kid from their tough streets in a suburb in The Netherlands. Examiner Dorri Olds nabbed exclusive interviews with Taihuttu, Kenzari and Amar on Friday, May 23, 2014.

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In any good film noir there are no good guys. The only thing that makes the hero different than the others is that he has a set of values that he won’t compromise on. Another earmark is a hero with a fatal flaw, or two. Usually he is a sucker for a female with a hard-luck story. The irony is that heroes in film noir never know how to treat a woman — they’re just a sucker for them. Majid is no exception. In “Wolf,” the damsel in distress is the sensual Tessa played by Bo Maerten. Tessa has terrible taste in men and gets no respect.

Our hero Majid also has a perverse loyalty to his friend Adil. Adil is weaker and boiling to the surface is his rage that he is not the alpha dog. Majid’s misplaced trust in Adil blocks him from seeing that betrayal is inevitable.

Majid is just riddled with problems. He is prideful. When Tessa asked him how he feels when he beats people up Majid said, “I feel nothing. Sometimes I just have to. If I see a guy acting tough I just need to hurt him or I can’t go home and look in the mirror.” And, although he’s running around being a thieving no-goodnik it is not greed that drives him. Even selfishness is not one of his character defects; he always gives the money to his Mom. Majid loves his family, even his bitter father, whose love is conditional. His disappointment in Majid is justified yet his cruelty towards his son is jarring.

Kenzari was voted one of the 10 best young European actors at this year’s Berlin Film Festival and it's easy to see why. The mesmerizing Dutch hunk holds you in a trance with his chiseled cheekbones, luscious lips and dark eyes.

In "Wolf" Kenzari’s Majid is an ex-con raised by Moroccan immigrant parents. Fresh out of prison, Majid needs to get his life on track. He’s a high school dropout with very few options. His father is ashamed of him and throws Majid out of the house. Ambivalent about what to do next and too impulsive to be an organized goal setter, Majid goes where opportunities knock, the kickboxing ring.

Majid excels at kickboxing and is lured by the dangling carrot of professional fighting and the hopes for the big money and fame that can come with it. At the same time, Adil keeps pressuring Majid to join him in robberies. Amar as Adil is fascinating to watch. Chances are you’ll see him in American movies soon.

Kenzari has just been cast in the Silver Pictures thriller, “Autobahn,” opposite Nicholas Hoult and Ben Kinglsey. Anthony Hopkins and Felicity Jones also star with Eran Creevy (“Welcome to the Punch”) directing.

Here is a taste of the interviews. Click through the slideshow photos above for more.

Dorri Olds: Majid is such a bad guy yet he is a sympathetic character. How did you do that?

Jim Taihuttu: I don’t believe that even criminals are completely bad. Even in really bad people there is some good. If you focus on Majid the way he is with his brothers, he is like a completely different guy than he is out on the street. I always admired how the writers made me love Tony Soprano. I don’t believe characters who are all good. Even in Batman, Bruce Wayne can be a jerk of a guy.

When “Wolf” won so many awards were your surprised?

Yes, we really made it for ourselves. It was such a struggle to get it made. When it came out I was still thinking they were going to crucify me and that fortunately I still have a DJ career. [Laughs]

"Wolf" is now available On Demand. Action thriller crime drama. Subtitles. Not rated. 122 min.

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