Yellowstone National Park's wolf reintroduction program provides the backdrop for the gentle "Druid Peak," an environmentally conscious if overlong redemptive coming-of-age drama.
Spencer Treat Clark, who was in his mid-'20s while shooting the film, nevertheless makes for a credible Owen, a troubled West Virginia teen with one foot in juvenile hall.
Unable to control him, his mom ships him off to the wilds of Wyoming, where his estranged father (Andrew Wilson, Owen and Luke's big brother) works as a Yellowstone biologist.
A bearded, strong silent type who looks like he just stepped off a Brawny paper towel wrapper, Owen's dad proves to have a positive effect on the boy, who ultimately finds a purpose in tracking wolves.
Treading the lupine terrain famously occupied by Jack London and Farley Mowat, writer-director Marni Zelnick makes an assured debut, coaxing considerable production value out of her limited budget while weaving in an understated, enlightening conservation message that feels organic to the story.
Notably less restrained is a soundtrack of acoustic songs with lyrics that tend to overstate the obvious, as well as extended scenic montages that, while intended to mark the passage of time, also serve to further slow an already languid pace.
While undeniably gorgeous, at some point all those sweeping vistas can't help but feel like a pitch for Wyoming tourism.
MPAA rating: None.
Running time: 1 hour, 55 minutes.
Playing: Arena Cinema, Hollywood.