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Overall Rating
3.97

Awesome: 32.63%
Worth A Look47.37%
Average: 9.47%
Pretty Bad: 5.26%
Total Crap: 5.26%

6 reviews, 59 user ratings


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Brotherhood of the Wolf
[AllPosters.com] Buy posters from this movie
by Doug Bentin

"Tres fabulous."
4 stars

When asked what “War and Peace” was about—doesn’t the title give some of that away—Tolstoy replied that the novel contained everything but a yacht race. You can be forgiven for having that very thought as you watch “Le Pacte des Loups,” called in English “The Brotherhood of the Wolf.” It’s almost a montage of everything we like about the movies, from stunning scenery to brilliant costumes, comedy to melodrama, sophistication to martial arts. As a bonus it’s in French with subtitles so you know it’s classy. It’s not quite Alexandre Dumas, who wrote a werewolf story of his own, but it’s pretty damn close

Between 1765-68, a beast is terrorizing the French countryside, killing mostly women and children. Some believe it’s a large wolf, but many of the locals think it must be a werewolf. Fronsac (Samuel Le Bihan), a naturalist who has spent time in North America, comes to the province of Gevaudan with his Native American friend Mani (Mark Dacascos) to help kill or capture the monster.

While there, he meets the local minor aristocracy and their friends, but can’t track the beast to its lair and it continues to kill. He falls in love with Marianne (Emilie Dequenne) and in lust with Sylvia (Monica Bellucci), a woman with more secrets than the beast has victims.

There is much trickery in and out of court as even the King, for reasons of his own, gets involved in bringing the monster’s reign of terror to a close. When the nature of the creature is finally revealed, Fronsac realizes that not all beasts walk on four legs.

There is much mystification in the telling of the tale. Sinister lighting and suspicious camera angles make us believe first that this person is hiding guilty secrets, then that another one is. Maybe they all are. This is gothic with a Gallic touch, after all.

But don’t get the idea that this is just another horror movie to be ignored or left to the chronically adolescent. In fact, the violence to both human and animal, as well as the amorous moments, mark this one as a very adult film. Fronsac is introduced to us as a libertine and he and Mani don’t spend their evenings at the chateau playing Parcheesi with the priest. They first meet the enigmatic Sylvia at the local bordello where she tells Fronsac that he can’t afford her.

The film is based in part on a genuine French legend and the story moves snappily along despite a running time of almost two and half hours. You’ll soon get used to the subtitles, which are usually kept short so you don’t feel you’re missing anything in the pictures while you’re keeping up with the words.

One of the glories of historical melodrama when it’s this well done is just looking at the costumes and sets, and since this picture is European and the performers were not trained in depressing realism, they wear their clothes as if they came from their closets at home and not from the wardrobe department. If American films are expert at serving up slices of contemporary life, this movie makes the eighteenth century look like today.

The countryside is as thick and deep as the costumes. The picture may not have been filmed in France, but what we see on the screen is the France of fairy tale and legend, with darkling woods and craggy hills.

Director Christophe Gans is guilty at times of drawing our attention to the film as cinema by switching suddenly to slow motion, freezing the frame, or cutting so rapidly we blink with surprise, but these gimmicks never completely snap us back to the present day and he is usually content to let the story tell itself through the characters.

There are moments, too, when we in the audience are expected to bring some information to the film. A particularly creepy ruin in the deep forest is said to have once been a stopping place for the Templars, and Gans assumes that we will know what that means in the context of his tale. When the minor aristocrat who tells the story in flashback is led in front of his weeping servants from his house and through a torch-bearing mob of peasants twenty-something years later, we have to know where he’s being taken without being told. Not being spoon fed every ort of information is pleasant.

“The Brotherhood of the Wolf” is grand entertainment, a colorful and exciting exercise in a kind of film making few people are willing to risk anymore, and the fact that it is as smart as it assumes we are is a most pleasant bonus.

As I left the theater I heard someone ask a member of the audience what she thought of the movie. The lady leaving the theater said, “Fabulous.” And she didn’t look like she ever seen a copy of “Fangoria.”

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=5704&reviewer=405
originally posted: 09/09/05 23:08:54
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User Comments

12/15/10 Josie Cotton is a goddess Looks great, but it really shouldn't take 2-hours to tell this simple stroy 3 stars
12/26/09 Merlin Cool movie based on real facts, who cares about historical inaccuracy? 5 stars
5/15/07 Bryan Based of History with a twist....GREAT!!!! 5 stars
9/14/06 Booksworm Good plot. Great action.BUT THAT WAS NO DAMN LION! 5 stars
2/12/06 chris f great film 5 stars
8/13/05 ES Fight, fight, fight, monster, fight, conspiracy, fight, RC church, fight, the end 3 stars
6/20/05 K. Sear A fun movie but it tried a little too hard in some places. 4 stars
1/11/05 Elizaveta very odd with a little too much native-american stereotyping. still enjoyable however 4 stars
6/02/04 Jim Possibly the best, and certainly the longest, film about a giant hedgehog. 4 stars
2/23/04 Naturezrevenge Fabooo. Looks like my dogs.Indian guy is hot.Good plot. Me like satanists and beasty thing. 5 stars
12/12/03 adam if you prefer plot driven action over action driven plot you'll love it. 5 stars
8/03/03 Shams Huque Great film visually... two nice action sequences. 4 stars
6/20/03 Sammy i thought the french sucked but they are pretty good at making a film 4 stars
5/22/03 Quinn Better than every french film ever made 5 stars
5/03/03 Gray total historical inaccuracy 2 stars
3/28/03 Stevo mad max+ sleepy hollow+ dangerous liaisons+the relic + crouching tiger= mad as fuck 4 stars
1/10/03 Paul Coleman Spectacular sleeper sensation!! Don't miss this one!! 5 stars
1/08/03 Mitsaso Monica Bellucci should have bigger part. 4 stars
12/17/02 aiken drum Could have ended up a bad cgi movie, but ended up so much more 5 stars
12/12/02 Jem Richards Ridiculous, flashy direction, hilarious (although not intentionally). Who wrote this? 1 stars
11/20/02 Sacre Bleu! About 1/2 hour too long; iffy CGI; average at best 3 stars
11/13/02 m.o.v A delightful change to Hollywood mainstream action movies! Different, smart, beautiful. 5 stars
11/12/02 Fonq35 Wack! It stars Mark "Straight to video " Dacascos.. c'est horrible avec beaucoup de fromage 2 stars
11/07/02 Crouching Randy: Hidden Savage Overly Long, but still in enjoyable flick in the tradition of Hong Kongs Best 4 stars
10/17/02 ownerofdajoint checkthispuppyout 4 stars
10/15/02 Morally Sound One kick ass movie! The bone-sword was slick. 5 stars
10/10/02 JesseL One of the best boogey man movies I have ever seen. 5 stars
10/09/02 spyguy2 Oh yeah...now that is entertainment! A cool mess of a movie that is totally compelling. 5 stars
10/05/02 rue the whirl a beautiful lobotomy 2 stars
10/02/02 Headshot Very good. Worth a Look 4 stars
4/15/02 james Are you guys high? This is the worst piece of shit movie ever! 1 stars
4/07/02 Jessica Moorleghen a 2 hour respite from anything contemporary 5 stars
3/09/02 trigger amazing visuals, very cool cinematography 5 stars
2/25/02 n6ko tasty, with a hint of rosemary. lavish spread 5 stars
2/23/02 Chris Any movie that has an Iriquois Ninja and Furry fish from Canada gets my vote... 5 stars
2/21/02 Sharlah Green This movie is full of fun and it's so entertaining! 5 stars
2/17/02 malcolm would have been 5 stars if i didn't have to read subtitles. gorgeous from top to bottom. 4 stars
2/17/02 AgentDS Does John Woo have a french clone? 4 stars
2/17/02 Britt This was the worst movie I have ever seen. Seriously. 1 stars
2/16/02 Kisuta Entertaining and excellant visuals 4 stars
2/10/02 Gil Carlson B-, visually stunning, but loopy 4 stars
2/10/02 Monster Mashh I thought this was a movie about Wolf Blitzer's gay love affairs. Thank goodness it wasn't 5 stars
2/06/02 INCUBATOR Very stylish plus beautiful storyline 4 stars
2/05/02 M Baker Very cool 4 stars
2/03/02 Rogue DAMN! 5 stars
2/02/02 David I didn't know American Indians could kick so much ass. 5 stars
2/01/02 Gamps Hollywood meets French filming for a monster movie. Tight. 4 stars
1/27/02 Jimmy James excellent movie! 4 stars
1/25/02 Ron Big disappointment. Way too long (And i like long movies!) incomprehensible ending. Bad CG 2 stars
1/23/02 Jamie Madrox The wasn't a wolf. But ok. 4 stars
1/20/02 Artist Freak Interesting hybrid of horror movie, Matrix style camera work &a French 18th C period piece 4 stars
1/20/02 BttMnch A disappointment. This is one long-ass movie--I couldn't wait for it to end. Overrated. 2 stars
1/19/02 Zac Cook Horrible! The monster looked like it was made on a home computer! Don't see this movie! 1 stars
1/19/02 JJ sucked balls 1 stars
1/17/02 Titus Fascinating, stunning, fun. I didn't want it to end 5 stars
1/15/02 Nyartholep I liked it. A little high on the "That came out of nowhere" factor, but still fun. 4 stars
1/14/02 UNKALJ GREAT EVEN WITH THE SUBTITLES 5 stars
1/14/02 cool dude the movie was cool 5 stars
1/09/02 Harper Sloane Has everything - Big Wolfs,Kung fu,French 18th costumes and bosoms. Top show 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  11-Jan-2002 (R)

UK
  N/A

Australia
  28-Nov-2002




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