Saturday, January 31, 2009

Brotherhood of the Wolf

"Brotherhood of the Wolf" is the translated title of the French film "Le Pacte des loups" which is set in 18th century France. A province in the countryside starts getting attacked by a mysterious wolf-like beast that the local authorities can't seem to track or kill. With no signs of the killings slowing down, the king sends in Gregoire de Fronsac and his American Indian compatiriot Mani to help solve the mystery. Stumbling into even more oddities than they anticipated, the two find themselves in the middle of conspiracies and secret organizations with questionable intentions and dubious methods. With Fronsac's knowledge of science and Mani's connection to nature they gradually unravel the mystery and discover that, for good or bad, not everyone is as they seem. Brotherhood of the Wolf stays true to its national origins with full French dialogue, but fortunately the DVD offers both subtitles and English voiceovers. Knowing I tend not to be a fan of foreign films, let's see how this one fares in the ratings...

Original Release: 2001
Running Time: 142 minutes
Death - $1
There is a fair amount, but it doesn't all happen on-screen. (Not necessarily a bad thing) The movie tries to keep the beast as mysterious to us the viewers as it is the French townsfolk for as long as possible, showing a couple of the attack scenes from the beasts perspective or with natural barriers hiding its form while still allowing us to see the fear in the victim's eyes. Getting back on track, the level of death in this movie is handled respectively and I commend them for that, even if they only get a dollar.

Critters & Creatures - $1
With the beast being the focal point of the film, I was curious what it would actually turn out to be in the end. I was very pleased with the build-up as well as the pay-off since they managed to maintain a slight level of plausibility (in terms of "movie" plausibility) without taking away from the "things that go bump in the night" level of fear that it induced.

Hello Ladies - $1
The first time I saw Brotherhood of the Wolf was years ago and at the time I had no idea who Monica Belucci was. Now,of course, I do and it was a pleasant surprise this time around. Maybe French films aren't so bad after all!

Shock Value - $1
There aren't too many movies that can throw a twist at the end without me seeing it coming. And even having previously seen the movie, it was still not completely obvious of everything that was coming at the end. A couple parts are wierd, but it still makes you pause for a second and think back to earlier part of the movie to realize that you should have seen it coming.

Action and Ass-Kickery - $1
There are some surprisingly good fight scenes in Brotherhood. It's one of those movie where everyone seems to know some form of martial arts but nobody really questions why. Fronsac and Mani both rumble with the French countryside version of bad asses, as well as with the beast itself. None of it is revolutionary, but it is definitely worthy of a dollar.
Total Rating: $5

Brotherhood of the Wolf definitely has something interesting about it, but I don't think it's for everyone. I like the period it is based in and the oddness of some of it, but I don't like the French dialogue. Similar to District B-13, you just lose something when you have to read what they are saying or if it is brutally clear that the voice is not coming from the person whose mouth is moving. Don't get me wrong though. I knew what I was doing when I recently reacquired the movie and I will definitely watch it again. I guess what I'm saying is that this is not one that I would recommend to everybody. Most of the movies I review here I will tell you that you should give it a try. I'm not going to force Brotherhood on you though. If you like what I had to say above (or the trailer below) then by all means test it out... but don't point any fingers at me if it doesn't wow you.

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