Time of the Wolf

Last updated

Le temps du loup
Promotional poster
Directed by Michael Haneke
Written byMichael Haneke
Produced by
CinematographyJürgen Jürges
Edited by Monika Willi
Distributed by
Release dates
  • 20 May 2003 (2003-05-20)(Cannes)
  • 8 October 2003 (2003-10-08)(France)
Running time
113 minutes [1]
  • France
  • Austria
  • Germany
  • French
  • Romanian
Budget 8.82 million [2]
(est. US$10 million)
Box office$499,149 [3]

Time of the Wolf (French : Le temps du loup) is a 2003 French dystopian post-apocalyptic drama film written and directed by Austrian filmmaker Michael Haneke. Set in France at an undisclosed time, the plot follows the story of a family: Georges (Daniel Duval), Anne (Isabelle Huppert), and their two children, Eva (Anaïs Demoustier) and Ben (Lucas Biscombe). The film also stars Olivier Gourmet and Serge Riaboukine.


The film takes its title from Völuspá , an ancient Norse poem which describes the time before the Ragnarök. It received positive reviews.


A disaster of some type has occurred, of which the audience only knows that uncontaminated water is scarce and livestock have to be burned. Having fled Paris, the Laurent family arrives at their country home, hoping to find refuge and security, only to discover that it is already occupied by strangers.

The family is assaulted by the strangers and forced to leave, with no supplies or transport. As they seek help from people they have known in the village, they are repeatedly turned away. The family makes its way to a train station where they wait with other survivors in the hope that a train will stop for them and take them back to the city.



Time of the Wolf was screened in the 2003 Cannes Film Festival, out of competition. [4] Patrice Chéreau, a member of that year's jury, stars in the film, which made the film ineligible for any award. The film also screened at the Sitges Film Festival where it won Best Screenplay and was in the running for Best Film. The film was released on DVD in 2004, and included a film trailer and brief biographies of the lead cast, besides the film. [5]

Critical response

On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, Time of the Wolf holds an approval rating of 64%, based on 56 reviews, and an average rating of 6.2/10. Its consensus reads, "A lean and unsettling thriller." [6] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 71 out of 100, based on 20 critics, indicating "Generally favorable reviews". [7] Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian gave Time of the Wolf 4 out of 5, [8] while Ed Gonzalez of Slant Magazine gave it 3 out of 4. [9]

Desson Thomson of The Washington Post commented that "[he] would rather have a more interesting group of desperate people to spend my post-apocalyptic time with" [10] while A.O. Scott of The New York Times said that "You can feel frightened and disturbed by this movie without being especially moved by it". [11] According to Scott Foundas of the Variety Magazine , "Haneke demonstrates profound insight into the essence of human behavior when all humility is pared away, raw panic and despair are the order of the day, and man becomes more like wolf than man." [12]

William Thomas of the Empire Online gave the film 2 out of 5, saying in his closing comments that "A superb European cast is wasted on a portrait of social breakdown that really has very little to say for itself". [13]

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  1. "LES TEMPS DU LOUP - TIME OF THE WOLF (15)". British Board of Film Classification . 22 August 2003. Retrieved 11 March 2021.
  2. "Le Temps du loup (Time of the Wolf) (2003)". JP's Box-Office. Retrieved 11 March 2021.
  3. "Time of the Wolf". Box Office Mojo . Retrieved 11 March 2021.
  4. "Festival de Cannes: Time of the Wolf". festival-cannes.com. Retrieved 11 March 2021.
  5. Megahey, Noel. "Time Of The Wolf Review". The Digital Fix. Retrieved 11 March 2021.
  6. "Time of the Wolf (2004)". Rotten Tomatoes . Flixster. Retrieved 11 March 2021.
  7. "Time of the Wolf". Metacritic . CBS Interactive . Retrieved 11 March 2021.
  8. "Time of the Wolf". The Guardian . 16 October 2003. Retrieved 11 March 2021.
  9. Gonzalez, Ed (1 March 2004). "Review: The Time of the Wolf". Slant Magazine .
  10. Thomson, Desson (23 July 2004). "'Wolf': Apocalypse Redux". p. WE39.
  11. Scott, A.O. (24 June 2004). "Film Review; In Search of Food, Water and Human Kindness After an Ecological Catastrophe". The New York Times . Retrieved 11 March 2021.
  12. Foundas, Scott (20 May 2003). "Time of the Wolf". Variety .
  13. Thompson, William (1 January 2000). "Time Of The Wolf Review". Empire Online. Retrieved 11 March 2021.