Wild and really rugged nature is scarce in our busy and tidy little country. The Veluwe is one of the places where the simultaneously harmonious and often merciless hand of Mother Nature still partly (albeit with people in the background) determines daily life. “Wild” is a pleasant cinematic introduction to a number of prominent Veluwe residents. Director Luc Enting was given access to various areas that are not or hardly accessible to tourists and was thus able to observe the many Veluwe animal species in peace.
Most attention is paid to an illustrious trio: the red deer, the fox and the wild boar. This results in beautiful and impressive images of stags fighting for the favors of the female beautiful and loudly bellowing stags, intimate family photos of extensive boar families and beautiful shots of foxes hunting well-hidden mice against the backdrop of a snow-covered landscape. In the wake of these main protagonists, we also get to know a variety of other animal and plant species that are at home in the Veluwe. Think of the colorful kingfisher, the warm sand lizard, the elegant buzzard, the industrious black woodpecker and the Herculean-looking stag beetle (the largest beetle in our country) for a Dutch insect.
In terms of form, director Luc Enting has opted for an already tried and tested format. The story chronologically follows the rhythm of the seasons. Although this approach is reflected in more nature films and therefore cannot be called very original, it does work. The film is concatenated by one of the country’s most famous comedians André van Duin. He performs his task quite well, but sometimes indulges in silly jokes or slightly disturbing examples of natural chauvinism. For example, with his claim that the Veluwe is “the largest continuous nature reserve in Western Europe”, he exaggerates a little.
In contrast to older nature films, which mainly record ecological processes and animal behavior in the most neutral way possible, much more modern nature documents usually also strive to make real characters of the animal protagonists. This is often done by giving them names or attributing semi-human traits. “Wild” is also topped with a somewhat anthropomorphic sauce, which sometimes balances on the edge of credibility.
Ultimately, the strength of “Wild” lies mainly in the beautiful images that bring landscape processes and the intimate life of animals to the fore. They show the Veluwe as a rugged and almost un-Dutch nature reserve. Fortunately, that visual beauty is enough to trump the somewhat weaker points of the film for the most part.