If you crave an over-the-top historical kung fu-fantasy epic with a good dose of voluptuous nudity, bravura machismo, and passions so intense they verge on ridiculous, then Brotherhood of the Wolf is your movie. Based (lo... more »osely) on an 18th-century legend, this French film follows a hunky scientist (Samuel Le Bihan, who's sort of a second-string Christopher Lambert) and his Iroquois sidekick/spiritual partner (Mark Dacascos) as they pursue a monstrous wolf ravaging the French countryside. Along the way Le Bihan gets entwined with a beautiful noblewoman (Émilie Dequenne) and a gorgeous prostitute (Monica Belluci) with secrets. The plot grows more and more incomprehensible, but the mix of torrid emotions, outrageous action sequences, and lurid titillation is really what the movie is about. Ignore the highbrow philosophizing and confused political intrigue; just enjoy the sensual images. --Bret Fetzer« less
Kristine K. (GoldenGryphon) from EAST BERNARD, TX Reviewed on 8/24/2009...
I ordered this movie because I was under the impression it was about werewolves. It isn't. Once I got over my irritation at being misled by the advertisements, I was able to relax and enjoy the movie for what it was - an interesting story about French nobility, French peasantry and a backwards corner of France, before the Revolution. There were some very interesting characters, from our hero and his sidekick to the very bad guys. And let's not forget the monster.
This is a perfect movie if you like the action oriented character development that was present in such movies as The Patriot (with Mel Gibson), or if you like pre-revolutionary costuming and scene/set design. The natural views are breathtaking, much of the behavior of the minor and fill-in characters is believable, and there is plenty of pre-revolutionary superstition and attitude to make the rest believable.
Political court intrigue is not my thing, or I'd probably be keeping this movie and try to copy a few of the gorgeous outfits.
5 of 6 member(s) found this review helpful.
chaddoli | Ohio | 01/06/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"3 DISC SPECIAL EDITIONSpecial Features
(all special features are in French WITH English subtitles unless otherwise noted):: Two Commentaries (in French with NO English subs)
:by actors Samuel Le Bihan and Vincent Cassel
:by director Christophe Gans
:: Deleted Scenes
:: "The Guts of the Beast" Documentary - 78 min.
:: "Behind the Scenes" Documentary - 78 min.
:: "The Legend" Documentary
:: Photo Gallery
:: Production Notes Booklet"
Fabulous original fairy tale of the old style
C. A Baker | Santa Rosa CA United States | 04/10/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"As an American I was apalled at the cheap DVD release they did of this film in the states, especially after hearing about the French release. Imagine my delight to see that Canada also had a 3 disc set that I could buy.
I've studied French since I was young and while not conversant in it I still have some basic understanding of this beautiful language. I enjoyed all the extras and only wished my French was much better so I could listen to the commentaries. But the good news is that most of the extras have subtitles so if you do not speak French do not worry!
I also much prefered the English subtitles to the English dubbing. The dubbing sounded phoney, and it chops the dialogue up much worse than subtitles do. When are people going to actually hire voice actors who sound convincing as the charcters of the film? Anyway...
This is one of the most facinating films I have ever seen, not since Neil Jordan's "The Company of Wolves" has a film so captured the spirt of the fairy tales and legends of old, not the sanitized versions we now see today. The cast is brilliant especially Monica Bellucci and Vincent Cassel both were just riveting. The plot was intriquing to the very end. If I have to criticize anything I think the sword fight at the end felt too forced and a bit artificial due to the special effects of the blade not being convincing enough. Other than that I will always consider this one of the best films I have ever seen!"
HOLLYWOOD ARE YOU WATCHING?
Mr. N. Carnegie | Kirkcaldy, Scotland, UK. | 01/22/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Apparently based on a true story (or at least a true myth) Brotherhood of The Wolf is a wonderful movie full of surprises. Part pre-revolutionary French period drama (complete with scantily clad peasant maidens with heaving bosoms and creepy aristocrats), part political allegory, part martial arts movie, and complete with gothic trimmings (a la Hammer House of Horror - secret societies, castles and candle-lit cellars etc.). Brotherhood of The Wolf is no euro art-house movie but it really is a must see.I'm not generally a fan of foreign movies but that's probably because this is only the third foreign movie I've seen on the big screen (the other two were `Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon' And `Amelie'). This movie received such universal high praise that I just felt compelled to go and see it and I must admit that although I initially struggled with the subtitles during the more conversation filled early scenes, after only twenty minutes I had completely forgotten that I was watching a foreign movie with subtitles, so immersed was I in the movie.I don't want to give too much of the plot away, particularly as part of the joy of this movie is its surprise element - just when you think you have the movie sussed it moves in a different direction. Set in France, in 1776, and entirely told in flashback, an unknown and rarely seen beast is terrorising the French rural district of Gevaudan, by killing its women and children. So, King Louis XV dispatches young scientist Gregoire de Fronsac (Samuel Le Bihan) accompanied his Iroquoi native American companion, Mani (Mark Dacascos) to find the uber wolf. On arriving in Gevaudon they find that the soldiers previously sent to catch the beast are more adept at terrorising the locals than they are at hunting, and that region is in a state of complete panic. Director Christophe Gans serves up a stylish period thriller and exhilarating ride, perfectly capturing the period, beautifully photographing the landscapes, seamlessly combined with action scenes of great style and surreal originality. When we are first introduced to de Fronsac and Mani masked and on horseback in the driving rain (a la Dangerous Liasons), they happen across an old man and his whorish daughter being beaten and bullied by brutish soldiers. Cue a change of direction from period drama to action kick ass action movie as Mani delivers a very sound and stylish beating to the thugs, seamlessly directed with the combination of slo-mo and real time action.This is the movie that Tim Burton's `Sleepy Hollow' could have been and should have been. Although the beast special effects (from Jim Henson's workshop( are not the best and perhaps slightly overlong, this is an excellent and very gripping movie, beautifully filmed and directed with superb action and superb acting. Monica Bellucci sizzles as a rather shapely and very attractive high class prostitute. The handsome (in a chunky Gallic way) Samuel Le Bihan makes an great leading man and he is ably supported by the excellent Vincent Cassell (as a menacing one armed aristocrat) and the radiant Emilie Dequenne, as the virtuous Marianne. However, it is Mark Dacascos (Driven) who steals the show as de Fronsacs blood brother Mani. With striking good looks, charisma, and a great deal of both physical presence and martial arts skills, coupled with his acting ability, he lights up the screen and given the opportunity he will go on from here to be an international star. Personally I can't wait until the movie is available on DVD. Apparently Ang Lee described `Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon as Bruce Lee meets Jane Austen', this is much more than Dangerous Liasons meets John Woo meets Hammer House of Horror. This is a real gem of a movie that I am so glad I `discovered'. Stunningly original in its combination of styles and genres and a great example to Hollywood of what they should be producing. Very entertaining!!!(See it now before they make a horrible English language remake)."
A truly entertaining historical action movie from France
Marion | Plymouth, Devon ,Grande Bretagne | 12/21/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"We (Husband Steve and myself) had expected a 'normal' werewolf story, but we were in for a pleasant surprise!
Steve did not mind reading the subtitles and I am lucky enough to understand French, so we both left the cinema very happy indeed. The plot centres around a mystical beast said to be roaming the forest and killing women and children and is based on a true story in late 18th century France. It is said that still today local historians do not know what exactly the beast was, but the killings stopped all of a sudden, so the beast must have somehow been hunted down and killed. The makers of the film made sure their research was solid enough to make the story plausible, and as for the setting, the costumes,the atmospere, the colours, the language and the portrayal of French aristocracy and life in that period of time just before the French Revolution is lively and full of suspense. The main characters of the story are the noble Grégoire de Fronsac (Samuel Le Bihan) and his taciturn Native American companion and blood brother Mani (Mark Dacascos) who have been asked by the French king to investigate the story of the Beast in the French region of Gévaudan. There they meet an amazing assembly of nobles who in spite of the killings do not seem altogether interested in uncovering the truth, but more in getting rid of the investigators and going back to leading their normal lives - the reason for which becomes apparent later on in the plot. Even the love interest between de Fronsac and Marianne de Morangias (Emilie Dequenne) does not slow things down as so often happens in films of that nature, and the witty dialogues are a pleasure to follow.
There is a lot of mysticism involved, be it through the character of J.François Morangias (brother of Marianne, Vincent Cassel) whose travels had led him to Africa where he lost one of his arms while hunting and who will do anything to keep his sister from harm - or men like de Fronsac, or the amazingly impressing representation of a Native American's way of looking at life, nature and people, and as an extra bonus the action scenes are superbly done.
So, it goes almost without saying that the character that impressed us most was the taciturn Mohawk Indian and the way Mark Dacascos managed to portray him as an almost supernatural being linked to nature and animals and seemingly removed and existing on a totally different spiritual level.
We wholeheartedly recommend this film, it is full of action, suspense, drama, a must!!"
A beautiful horror kung fu action period film from France
Lawrance M. Bernabo | The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota | 01/14/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Wow, they certainly tossed just about everything into the pot in making this one, including the French Revolution. "Le Pacte des Loups" starts off as a exquisitely photographed costume drama/horror flick set in 18th century France with a poor peasant girl being hunted down by an unseen beast. My first thought that this was a beautiful film, more reminiscent of a Jane Austen period piece than a horror flick from Hammer Studio. But then our hero, Grégoire de Fronsac (Samuel Le Bihan) and his faithful Indian companion, Mani (Mark Dacasos), show up and we suddenly discover the film is also a cross between "The Last of the Mohicans" and "Couching Tiger, Hidden Dragon." However, since this is movie based on a legend regarding a huge wolf ravaging the French countryside, this hardly seems the time to insist upon a standard of realism. The collaboration between director Christophe Gans and cinematographer Dan Laustsen results in some beautiful and memorable camera shots (most notably, as the camera tracks up a woman's nude body it morphs into snow covered terrain), often playing with time and movement to great effect. In the deleted scenes Gans provides a sort of mini-commentary on the film that is quite interesting in terms of setting up the film's dynamic, especially regarding the opening sequence originally conceived for the film and the scene that replace it. Laustsen is the cinematographer on upcoming "The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen," and my assumption is that when I see that film I will have a better sense of who contributed the most to "Brotherhood of the Wolf." The film was edited Xavier Loutreuil and Sébastien Prangère, with David Wu doing the Hong Kong kung fu fight sequences, which are impresive because they do not, for the most part, violate the realism of the time, which is a way of saying the wire work is extremely limited and understated. I also like the way Fronsac's love triangle is color coded: Marianne de Morangias (Émilie Dequenne) is a redhead often dressed in a red uniform while the raven haired Sylvia (Monica Bellucci) always wears black. The rouge/noir opposition works well in contrast to the blues, browns and yellows which serve as the palatte for most of the film. My only real complaint is actually the traditional complaint one has after watching a Hammer horror film: the beast, when we finally get to see it, is something of a disappointment. However, I will allow that this is probably due as much to my heightened expectations given the quality level of the rest of the film more than to the limitations of CIG technology. The second time I watched the film this aspects was less bothersome to me, but still something of a disappointment. An action/horror/fantasy/thriller/romance like "Brotherhood of the Wolf" is not going to be embraced by everyone, but certainly fans of those genres will admire the ambition of this film, the most beautiful of its type we have ever seen."