A movie review of “The Wolfpack,” a strange and fascinating yet disturbing documentary about six brothers who are imprisoned in a shabby apartment by their father. Rating: 3 stars out of 4.

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They seem like characters in a dark fairy tale: six adolescent brothers, all with flowing dark hair and piercing eyes, entrapped in a tower, crafting stories to pass the days. Except it’s not really a tower, but a shabby apartment in a Lower East Side housing project, and the young men are imprisoned not by a monster or an evil sorceress, but by their father, who feared that leaving the apartment would expose them to danger — or to dangerous ideas.

Watching Crystal Moselle’s documentary “The Wolfpack” (a prizewinner at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival) is a strange and fascinating experience; you feel like you’ve been given entry into a mysterious world, where no one else is permitted. The Angulo brothers, who when Moselle first met them were hardly ever allowed to leave the apartment (“one particular year, we never got out at all,” says one), sleep in a feral pile. By day, they compulsively re-enacted the movies they watched on an ancient television, copying the scripts on a manual typewriter. They especially love Quentin Tarantino’s films, and Christopher Nolan’s; dark worlds re-created, with cardboard guns and homemade costumes. “ ‘The Dark Knight’ made me believe that something was possible to happen — to escape my world,” says one brother.

It’s a disturbing, eerie film; you wonder, watching, why the filmmaker didn’t intervene, why the boys’ mother seems so oddly distant, whether we’re viewing an art-house vision of child abuse. But though in the film we hear from no one outside the family, things gradually get brighter. First one courageous brother makes a solo outing, then we see the group walking the streets (“This is like 3D, man,” says one), hearing along with them an urban symphony of noise, and watch as they go on outings: to the beach, to a sunny apple field, to a movie.

Movie Review ★★★  

‘The Wolfpack,’ a documentary directed by Crystal Moselle. 84 minutes. Rated R for language. Seven Gables, SIFF Cinema Egyptian.

And we come to know the brothers as a bright, thoughtful group, able to laugh at their situation, troubled by their father yet unafraid of him. By the film’s end — it was shot over several years — the pack seems to have broken free, more or less. Two of them, coming full circle, now work in the film industry; movies were the world into which they escaped, and, also, the key to their freedom.