No two ways about it… Raised by Wolves is a polarising slow burn.
There will be those hypnotised by its bold and cold take and others climbing the walls waiting for something resembling a story with characters to care for.
Ridley Scott directs this sci-fi created by Aaron Guzikowski (Prisoners, The Red Road) in which two androids marooned on a planet raise human children, only one of which survives.
Mother (Amanda Collin) and Father (Abubakar Salim) raise their multicultural clan on a barren planet in a kind of high-tech igloo. Clad in body-hugging teal lycra, there’s no expression as they bring up young human babies, ripped from a hybrid womb. One infant is brought back from the brink, dubbed Campion (Aussie Winta McGrath), whose fighting spirit is quelled by such motherly directives as, “We will never advance unless we resist the urge to seek solace in fantasy.” Mum is a party-pooper, for sure.
As billowing clouds repeatedly indicate the passage of time, their numbers dwindle and an SOS is sent. A rescue party led by war-torn human Marcus (Aussie Travis Fimmel) arrives, but not all goes as planned. Mother is also bit of a fighter…
The opening chapter takes too long to reach its points of conflict and the cold android demeanour sucks the life out of it all (rich colours are also drained from the visuals). Amanda Collin is certainly forthright as the detached Mother while the striking green eyes of Abubakar Salim are at risk of betraying his listless Father. An android domestic will go down as one of 2020’s most bizarre scenes.
This was such a chore I kept waiting for actual wolves to arrive on the scene and provide some peril. Or a bit of Romulus & Remus to spice things up…?
I could hope that the whole thing is a set-up for a future with young Campion as a prophet but this would require me to leave the foetal position and invest enough.
To be fair, Ridley Scott brings high concept to the table. This is a universe in which androids try to control our thinking. I can’t predict such things will come to pass, but in 2020 audiences still decide for themselves.
Raised by Wolves airs 8:30pm Thursday on Foxtel / Binge.