What if your parents kept you and your six siblings locked up in a public housing project in Manhattan and all you knew of the world came from Hollywood movies? That’s a loaded question — and filmmaker Crystal Moselle runs with it in this gripping documentary. She doesn’t answer all the questions her film raises, but you won’t be able to pull your eyes off the screen.
The tenets of the Hare Krishna faith led Peruvian-born musician Oscar Angulo and his American wife Suzanne to keep their six sons and one daughter away from the crime-ridden streets of the Lower East Side. With the exception of a few rare, chaperoned excursions into the outside world, these hothouse flowers — ages 16 to 24 when we meet them — sit in front of a TV devouring Hollywood history like a cinematic wolfpack. The works of Quentin Tarantino, notably Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction, figure prominently in their education. As do GoodFellas, Halloween, The Dark Knight and any others that the younger Angulos can turn into plays and put on as family shows. Despite intimations of abuse on the father’s part, the children — homeschooled by mom — show enormous charm and adaptability.
Without venturing too far out into spoiler territory, it’s fair to say that there’s a breakout. That’s how Moselle met the Angulos and won access to their home movies (amazing stuff). The Wolfpack is frustrating in how much it doesn’t tell us about the Angulos and the legal tangle that comes with their release. But once you’ve met these kids, you won’t forget them — or the film that puts a hypnotic and haunting spin on movie love.