Brotherhood of the Wolf (2001) Poster

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Merchant Ivory takes up kickboxing
mikerichards23 October 2001
In 1765 something was stalking the mountains of south-western France. A 'beast' that pounced on humans and animals with terrible ferocity. Indeed they beast became so notorious that the King of France dispatched envoys to find out what was happening and to kill the creature. By the end, the Beast of Gevaudan had killed over 100 people, to this day, no one is entirely sure what it was, wolf? hyena? or something supernatural? Whatever it was, shepherds had the same life-expectancy as the red-suited guys in 'Star Trek'. The Beast is a popular myth in France, albeit one rooted firmly in reality; somewhat surprisingly it is little known to the outside world, and perhaps incredibly it has never been made into a movie. Until now, and what a movie!

Categorising 'Le Pacte des Loups' would be tricky, but I'll try. Its a period costume horror martial-arts werewolf movie and surprisingly all those pieces work together provided you don't concentrate too hard. Why no one has previously made a period costume horror martial-arts werewolf movie before is a mystery, but I expect plenty of imitations in the future.

Taking the Beast as its starting point the movie quickly diverges from historical fact and steps up the pace. We are introduced to the two heroes, Gregoire de Fronsac (Samuel le Bihan) and Mani (Mark Dacascos) in the midst of a torrential storm that culminates in the first of many magnificently staged fights. De Fronsac has been dispatched by the King to find the Beast. De Fronsac represents the new rational world of the Enlightenment which is being forced to confront the backward, superstitious France outside of the capital. Mani, an Iroquois shaman and hunter befriended by de Fronsac whilst adventuring in the Americas brings another type of wisdom entirely. At the time of the movie America was a dark and mysterious place, home to all of the fears of Europeans. Of course it was shortly to become the home of the very republicanism that would sweep across France and remake the Old World in a new image.

'Le Pacte des Loups' wears its republican colours on its sleeve and uses the conflict between rationalism and the stereotypical backward villagers to drive home the point. This is good old-fashioned horror movie territory and the source of much of the plot. Guvaudan is the sort of village that would give the inhabitants of Sleepy Hollow the creeps. If it were in England, Christopher Lee would be the lord of the manor and Peter Cushing the priest.

'Le Pacte des Loups' has one of the strongest French language casts possible, a mix of veterans and some up and coming talent. Here it is dominated by the priest Sardis (Jean-François Stévenin) and the saturnine Jean Francois (Vincent Cassel), a crippled hunter and explorer who rapidly becomes more dangerous than the Beast itself. Both are scornful of the changes coming from Paris and seek to shield their world from the future. The remainder of the population are either stupid, indolent, superstitious or just evil, holding back the new rational world of the big cities. The Beast is very much an extension of their way, as much as it is a physical monster, the Beast is a projection of all the villagers hatreds and bigotry.

A strong female role is unusual in movies, but two? And such different characters. There is the strikingly elegant and almost hypnotic courtesan Sylvia (Monica Bellucci), playing her role of seductress with frigid professionalism. In a world where women had little more than their wits to protect them, she is the most dangerous of all and far more than she first appears. For most of the movie you are unsure if she is going to help or hinder the heroes, she is always mysterious and captivating.

In complete contrast there is the innocent, fragile, and astonishingly beautiful, Madeiline (Emilie Dequenne), younger sister to the protective Jean Francois. Surrounded by evil, prejudice and superstition on all sides she is clearly the romantic heroine, but is also intended to represent the French Republic; the very symbol of which gives her name. De Fronsac falls hopelessly in love with this witty and charming woman, but in doing so he risks further conflict with Jean Francois.

The two leads are fantastic and share a chemistry reminiscent of the relationship between Butch and Sundance. Le Fronsac is wise when needed, with a sensational put down for those who think that Mani is less than human. Mani is a man of few words but utterly dominates the screen when present. Needless to say, they are both fantastic fighters.

Horror movies live or die by the creature and fortunately this movie delivers. Wisely there is never a chance to get a good look at the animal - it is enough to know that it is big and nasty, the viewer's mind will fill in the details. The creature is also used surprisingly sparingly. When the viewer might expect it to pounce it doesn't, a few minutes later it appears out of nowhere - wonderful, shocking stuff reminiscent of 'Alien'.

Whilst the design of the animal from the Creature Workshop is perfect, some of the CGI work is a little below the standards we have come to expect - a couple of the daylight shots are well-below par, but the nighttime work is outstanding. Indeed one shot where the creature stalks out of the fog behind the hero has to be amongst the most effective CGI work in film.

Cinematically this is some of the best work of late; it bears many resemblences to Ridley Scott's 'Gladiator' - luscious slow character-forming scenes mixed in with frantic camera work for the action scenes. Again, this strange hybrid style works exceptionally well, although perhaps it can get a little too frantic. Just about every camera and digital trick is used at least once, some to excellent effect (one flashback scene is particularly striking, using a strongly solarised effect to give it an otherworldly texture).

One of the designers was previously involved with Merchant Ivory productions and the luxurious interior scenes have every bit as much detail as any period piece, (and a special word for the costumes that use some of the most sumptuous fabrics possible). A good deal of the film is lit by candle or fire light, filling the screen with warm oranges and flesh tones (and the movie *never* misses a chance to show lots of flesh).

In contrast the exterior shots are frequently chill blues and washed out hues, making the French countryside look like a hostile world that could conceal all forms of dark secrets. The countryside itself is magnificently filmed and quite different to the stereotypical French landscapes.

Tragically all this splendour is playing to minuscule audiences, I saw it with just five other people whilst the queues for 'American Pie 2' stretched across the auditorium. Do yourself a favour and try a foreign language movie. For those people who think French cinema involves two middle aged peasants smoking Gauloises whilst arguing about the finer points of philosophy this film will come as a revelation.

At 140 minutes perhaps the movie runs a little too long and there are one too many plot twists (there is one near the end that is VERY difficult to accept, but just wince and accept it), but it doesn't outstay its welcome.

For the English-speaking market the film has been subtitled. Sadly they seem to be quite workmanlike translations and some of the wittier dialogue isn't translated, a shame because the script (even to this very poor French speaker) sparkles. A number of misspellings and grammatical errors in the subtitles should have been caught earlier, but for once you can actually read the subtitles.

This isn't great art, it doesn't redefine the genre and it doesn't preach. Horror by is very nature is irrational, there is nothing to learn from horror (apart from don't split up a group and never go down to the basement to check why the lights went out). This movie delivers over two hours of solid entertainment, you'll probably come out with a silly grin on your face - and what more do you want?

Finally, a word of praise for the most imaginative dissolve between two shots I have ever seen - a woman's breast fading into a mountain. No doubt the women of the World are eager to find out just what Christophe Gans can do with the Eiffel Tower.

In short, I have to give 'Le Pacte des Loups' two paws up.
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A brilliant genre film ...
beingofsoundmind24 November 2003
Candle-lit interior cinematography, lush misty landscapes, strong characters, exquisite costumes, an authentic boudoir recreation of 18th century French society, a new kind of savage 'monster' and some of the finest stylized fight scenes ever laid down in a 'genre' film, place "Brotherhood of the Wolf" among the classiest horror adventure films of all time.

Great moments include the culminating rage of Samuel Le Bihan's gentlemanly character 'Fronsac' who explodes into a Conan-like fury as he meets out 'justice' to those that wronged his Iroquois-Mohawk 'blood brother' played by Marc Dacascos, Vincent Cassel suitably creepy as the decadent 'Morangias', sensuous Monica Belluci as the dangerous and vicious 'Sylvia', interesting historical plot-points, and a bond of friendship between an unlikely pair of frontier adventurers, make director Christopher Gans "Brotherhood of the Wolf" an original masterpiece of 'genre' film-making...
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VERY Cool Movie
LebowskiT10009 February 2002
From what I saw in the previews this looked like an interesting movie, then I heard from some friends that it was pretty good, so some buddies of mine and myself went and saw it. I have to say that I LOVED this movie. I knew it was going to be subtitled, and I knew it was a French movie, but other than what I saw in the trailers, I didn't have a clue what to expect.

I must say that the trailers were PERFECT, cause they showed just enough to get you interested, but not enough to ruin the cool parts in the movie.

I was truly shocked at how good the "Beast" looked, I was really fearing that it would barely be shown and when it was it would look bad, but I thought it looked great! It was no T-Rex in "Jurassic Park", but nonetheless, it looked believable and quite real at times.

Then there's the fight scenes. These fights were incredible. My hat is off to Mark Dacascos, I saw him in two of his earlier films; "Double Dragon" and "Only The Strong" and was really impressed with his fighting in both of those films. As far as fighting goes though, I think this film takes the cake. Truly impressive, if you ask me.

His buddy in the film, Samuel Le Bihan, was a great fighter too. Mark seems much more of a martial arts fighter though, whereas Samuel is more of a weapon wielder, but equally impressive.

Like most movies there were a few scenes that I could have done without, but overall, I was really happy with the film. It was worth my $9.

Another thing I wanted to mention is the wardrobe. Normally I'm not one to really pay attention to the wardrobe, but it really stuck out in this film for some reason. The costumes were great in this film, I really liked the outfits that the two main characters were wearing in the beginning of the film when they're standing in the rain (the costumes shown on the poster). They just looked so cool.

If I had to complain about something in the movie, I'd say that the director went a little overboard with the slow-motion. And more specifically, the slow-motion-to-full-motion shots. There were certain times in the film where I KNEW the directer was going to slow the shot down and "surprise, surprise", I was right. But it didn't bug me enough to get me upset, just something that struck me as odd.

Well, I hope you like(d) the movie as much as I did and thanks for reading my review.

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Unique adventure movie, solid all around
Lydgate31 October 2003
Le Pacte des Loups is a fairly impressive movie. What other movie can spend two and a half hours on a ravaging monster fought by a scientist and his loyal Iroqois "brother" in 18th century France, and keep its audience enraptured? Its plot is a bit obscure in places, admittedly, leaving the audience not so much in suspense as confusion, but this is the unconventionality that comes with such a unique work. The acting was a bit above average, the actors and actresses combining well with the enchanting atmosphere and succeeding in making memorable characters. The score also contributes to the film's mysterious mood, and great cinematography (although occasionally overdone) helps it out too. While all this goes a long way to making a great film, it is the dazzling action sequences that make it a classic. The choreography is great, the sound effects make you feel as if you're standing a foot away, and the mystery of the movie is such that nearly every battle's outcome is uncertain. If the romance is trite, a few lines seem out of place, and the plot falters a bit, overall, this is still quite a movie to watch if you're looking for a lot of adventure and action. [8/10]
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A Rainy Day Extravaganzza
vfuess4 August 2004
When it is cold and wet and foreboding outside, leaving one to fend for a good escape into fantasy and a time gone by, then this movie DELIVERS. Say whatever you want about miniscule "holes" in the story, or the tedium applied to the cinematography or the excessive use of slow camera effects in the fight sequences, THIS IS ENTERTAINMENT.

This movie carries the viewer into a whole new world- not like the one inhabited by Hobbits and Elves, and other creatures that obviously DO NOT exist- but rather a world of old France where the people are stranger than fiction and the times are changing. Fables meet their demise AND their verification in this film.

It's not a movie I would call a "favorite", but it IS a movie that I consider a "guilty pleasure" on a day that affords me three hours to slip out of my existence and follow a satisfying and well-presented fantasy. Every millimeter of every frame is a work of art, and that alone is worth getting lost in.
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This film is excellent.
Rooster9929 December 2001
I am very pleased to see French cinema depart from the "if you don't understand my movie, then you are not an intellectual" approach to film making. More often then not, French films have been explorations of relationships or psychological dramas. And they have generally been very difficult to sit through. Take "Place Vendome" for instance. It won all sorts of awards at Cannes, but is basically a very boring, unwatchable arthouse movie. This film is nothing like that. It is exceptionally well-made, it is exciting, horrifying, and will keep you glued to your seat. I have rarely been so impressed with a film. The plot is a little far-fetched, but it is based on a folkloric creature that stalked people in the 18th century in southern France. Therefore, if the movie gets a little bit super-natural, than I can accept it. After all, the "real" wolf was supposed to have killed over 100 people during it's reign of terror 200 years ago, and there must have been something odd about a wolf capable of such carnage.

Christophe Gans is the same person who directed "Crying Freeman", still one of the best action movies of all time (in my humble opinion). Mark Dacascos of "Crying Freeman" is equally in "Le Pacte des Loups", playing an Iroquois warrior, a traveling companion to the French protagonist. Where an Iroquois learned to fight like that, I will never know, but then again, I wasn't around during the French-Indian wars to verify how they fought:) Suffice it to say that the action sequences are terrific, the beast is terrifying, and the story is engrossing. This movie cannot be simply branded a horror film, nor an action film. It is a fantastic escape into pre-French Revolution France with a very large wolf thrown in. I loved it when I saw it in France in French. I bought the DVD as soon as it was out and watched it again. I am very pleased to say that it did not disappoint the second time around. I would highly recommend this film to anyone, providing they understand that : a) it is an action movie b) it has elements of a horror movie c) there are some supernatural elements to it d) it is set in 1780 in France e) it was originally filmed in French

If you can handle all of these points, you will love this film. Truly superb film-making. This is the only film I have rated to which I have accorded a ranking of 10.
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An extravagant B-movie from France with all the right matinee-adventure ingredients.
TheVid4 February 2002
This is a grandiose monster movie from France that delivers the perfect blend of slick style and unsophisticated, gothic melodrama to make it one of the most appealing film fantasies in a long while. The international success of the film is not hard to understand; it's exhilarating in the same way that the old Hammer horror films were in their heyday. Everything about this elaborate movie is terrifically tacky, particularly the stunning production design. It's like seeing those artless, wilderness paintings containing hidden animal images come to life. The characters come off as if they were lifted right off of some garish paperback romance-novel cover. Best of all, the film has some nifty flourishes of sex and violence sadly missing from the current spate of half-baked, PG-13 Hollywood product. While some seem to be complaining of one martial-arts fight too many, faulty creature effects or simple-minded plotting; in this case, it's like bitching about KING KONG being over the top. This is a contemporary B-movie (albeit an expensive, subtitled one) for those who appreciate a good time at the movies. It delivers the kind of satisfaction audiences used to get seeing the work of Mario Bava or Ray Harryhausen; and that's saying a lot!
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"Like a lion I will devour your children and tear out their entrails."
Backlash00715 April 2003
I am very much in awe of this movie. Brotherhood of the Wolf encompasses every genre of film; martial arts, action, romance, thriller, horror, drama, everything. Keeping with the spirit of all these genres, it invokes many emotions from the viewer. A beast is terrorizing the countryside of Gevaudan and the villagers believe no man or bullet can put it down. Enter the ultimate Jack of all Trades, Grégoire de Fronsac, and his brother-in-arms, Mani, who have come to town to stop/capture this menacing beast. The story starts here and has so many twists and turns it could make your head spin. The cast is incredible. I have no idea who this Samuel Le Bihan guy is, but he absolutely rocks it as Fronsac. This also has potential to be a breakout role for Mark Dacascos but we'll have to wait and see on that one. Even if he doesn't make it beyond the B action flick, Mani will always be an unforgettable character. And Vincent Cassel is incredibly suave and creepy at the same time. Brotherhood is an absolutely beautiful example of what film can look like. The cinematography combined with the editing makes for some truly fantastic scenes. Let's not forget the fight choreography. There are some tremendous fight sequences that rival those from Hong Kong cinema. Some movies become great because they have that one moment that will forever live on in your memory; Moments that are undoubtedly awesome. Brotherhood of the Wolf is simply just one big moment. Other than the films by Luc Besson, I've never really been a follower of French cinema. But with the coming of this movie and the equally dark and beautiful Crimson Rivers I could get into it.
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When the French make a Hollywood-like movie
Munin7526 August 2011
"Brotherhood of the Wolf" has all the ingredients of a mediocre Hollywood action film. Don't get me wrong, my favorite movies tend to be American, but Hollywood also produces many cliché action flicks lacking in originality, but champion in cheesiness. With this film, one can see the French have masterfully picked up on it.

Let me list examples showing how "Brotherhood of the Wolf" looks like a typical Hollywood movie :

-A narrator presents the movie to make it look more intellectual than it really is,

-Fight scenes in the rain with slow motion moments, typically with one dude kicking many people's ass all at once using eastern martial arts (in 18th century France),

-Cool American-Indian thrown in, whose medicine and knowledge is somehow better than that of a developed country, cause he's so close to nature and all..,

-Very politically correct denunciation of racism and ignorance (but granted, typical French movies also do that a lot),

-References to real historical facts in order to flatter the more cultured audience's intelligence,

-Female characters who other than their hotness are absolutely useless,

-Lack of character development (does anyone actually care for the main characters?),

-Surreal dream-sequence added to make the movie seem mystical,

-Uninteresting romance seemingly thrown in the movie for the Hell of it,

-Scene where the main character takes his revenge in a hate-fueled bloodbath,

-White guy goes all Rambo on the bad guys, dressing like an American-Indian in the process because he surely learned how to be a commando when he fought with Indians in North America,

-Unrealistic conspiracy theory revealed like it's something awesome,

-Final face-off fight during which the antagonist explains his actions,

-Many anachronisms,

-Cheesy ending which tries desperately to be tragic.

I surely forgot some moments, but these are examples which made me smirk or sigh.

"Brotherhood of the Wolf" stays a relatively entertaining movie, although sometimes I wished it could just cut to the chase, so I believe it at least deserves an average 5/10. But contrary to what many people have said, it most certainly does not look like a French movie. I believe many non-French people rated the movie highly because in truth it looks American, yet it's French so it felt "exotic" and they were perhaps pleasantly surprised. But if this movie were American, it wouldn't have been praised so much in my most humble opinion.

If you want to see a typical French movie, don't watch this one. If you like Hollywood action movies which aren't particularly original, you might like "Brotherhood of the Wolf" and then feel good about yourself for having watched a foreign film.
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No classic, but with food for thought, thrills AND Monica Bellucci naked, go for it.
Victor Field22 December 2001
The presence of Robert DeNiro and Charles Grodin in "Midnight Run" seemed to cause many people to wildly overrate that standard action movie; similarly, the we-hate-Forrest-Gump crowd approached the quietly compelling "Cast Away" with too much prejudice to view it fairly. In "Brotherhood of the Wolf" (the English-language title of "Le Pacte des loups"), a character says that lies told in Latin can be seen as truth; the fact that this is a commercial film in French (with subtitles so you can fool yourself into feeling clever that you're watching an art movie) may explain why some are very, very enthusiastic about it. Not that the movie doesn't deserve praise (it does in a lot of ways); it's just that I wonder if they'd have been as impressed had it been the identical film shot in English and with an American cast (or with Americans other than Mark Dacascos).

Based on the French tale of a deadly creature that roamed the Gallic countryside in the 18th century and was never caught, "Le Pacte des loups" plays like a better, more coherent, more frightening version of "Sleepy Hollow," with the representative from the major city (Samuel le Bihan)and his Iroquois Indian blood brother (Dacascos) sent to investigate the gruesome goings-on, and gradually finding out there's far more than meets the eye - although unlike "Sleepy Hollow," which went overboard with the decapitations, the murders are kept to a minimum in the early going (we do see the beast attacking two of its female victims (the beast only attacks women and children) in the first half, but most of the details are kept to our imaginations... unlike later on in the movie). The movie takes its time setting the pace and mood, slipping in a few clues to the resolution - one hint: watch out for the gun - and risking losing the audience because it really is pretty methodical; but once all the main characters have been introduced, and once past the halfway point, the movie really starts to deliver.

Director/co-writer Christophe Gans leaves several narrative threads hanging, but barring a few plot holes this doesn't damage the movie's overall effect because so much stuff is woven into it; the tunnel vision of several of the characters, religious symbolism, conspiracy, a hint of incest between a crippled aristocratic hunter (Vincent Cassel) and his sister (Emilie Dequenne) that comes up in a crucial moment of the plot... provided you don't think it over too much afterwards (for starters, why does the beast not go after men?), or simply think on the movie's impressive visuals (the first fight scene and several thereafter are in slow motion, but when le Bihan launches an attack on the baddies towards the end - for reasons I won't divulge here - they come in regular speed; some of the CGI effects are a bit awkward, but the work of Jim Henson's Creature Shop is thankfully less like the Bloop in "Lost in Space" and more like their usual effective stuff, with a creature guaranteed to give you nightmares), it works just fine.

Mention should also be made of the fine score from Joseph LoDuca, no stranger to scoring uncharacteristically zesty historical stories after Hercules and Xena - his cue for our heroes going hunting and the final scene are standouts, although I could have lived without that song over the credits (sung in English, by the way); of the cast's acting, with special nods to Cassel, Dacascos, and Monica Bellucci as the prostitute who turns out to be more involved with the plot than it appears (if only American actors (and while we're at it, British ones) were as multilingual as their Continental counterparts); and of the brutal but effective fight scenes, with a particularly impressive climax. While this isn't the all-timer some say it is (that first hour IS a problem), I enjoyed it in the end; despite its reputation, French cinema has always had its accessible offerings (let's not forget it gave us "Diva," Brigitte Bardot, "La Cage aux Folles" and Luc Besson, "The Fifth Element" notwithstanding), and this is further proof.

As for Monica Bellucci naked - definitely one of the most memorable (and unlike the other ones, decidedly pleasant) moments in the movie, with Gans throwing in an amazing dissolve from Miss Bellucci's topography to that of the French mountains. For once, Jim Henson's Creature Shop doesn't contribute the most impressive bodywork to a film.
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Good atmosphere, fine styling.
CMUltra20 July 2003
Warning: Spoilers
*Slight Spoilers*

This is a movie I kept *meaning* to watch but for one reason or another never got around to. Last night I finally settled in with the requisite snacks and prepared to enjoy a werewolf movie.

I was surprised to find it was something different. It's a period mystery, set in 18th century France. That's not to say lycanthrope is not a subject of the movie but... well, you should watch it and see for yourself.

I'm not knowledgeable enough of France during that time (or most other periods) to comment on whether the movie is authentic in its detail. I can say, however, that the style is superb.

The director, Christophe Gans, uses Hong Kong choreographer Philip Kwok for the fight scenes. A smart move as many directors try to take on that job themselves. Action choreography is a discipline unto itself and, though a director may excel in dramatic or comedic execution they can fail miserably here. Gans' use of Kwok gives the movie a well presented quality throughout.

The story is also nicely done. As I said, it's a tale of mystery. A fantastic mystery, to be sure, but fans of the genre will surely be pleased. Le Bihan makes for a charismatic investigator and Dacascos as his Native American ally provides further dimension to the story.

The pacing could have been better. I saw the directors cut, which is well over 2 hours. As a mystery movie, one cannot expect constant action but there were times when the movie tended to drag under the weight of unnecessary scenes.

And then there were deleted scenes that should have, at least in part, been included. In the deleted scenes section of the DVD, Gans commented that the first fight scene (an exciting sequence in the rain with our two heroes facing a troop of French soldiers in drag) was shortened to delete Le Bihan's participation. Gans stated that he didn't want the audience to see Le Bihan in full action so early in the movie. However, when he does go into full martial arts mode late in the film, fighting the titular group, it's a little disconcerting. Since he displayed *no* martial arts prowess beforehand in the rather lengthy movie, we're left asking, "Now where did this come from?"

As far as the language, I recommend whichever method allows you to best watch the movie with the least distraction. I preferred the dubbed English so I wouldn't have to look at the subtitles. HOWEVER, the dubbed voices are not well acted. I will undoubtedly watch it again in the native language without subs now that I know the story.

Overall, this is an enjoyable mystery movie with plenty of action, a well done plot and fine acting. Check it out!

6.5 out of 10.
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Tone down the cheese
isabelbutic22 February 2004
Warning: Spoilers
If a movie wants to look like its art, then it should actually mean something. At least make sense and wrap up subplots that were left hanging. But if the writers just wanted to play around by splicing together every B-movie/popcorn-flick gimmick- then they shouldn't take themselves too seriously. A good example of genre mixing would be Kill Bill. There is such a tongue-in-cheek, wink-wink, nudge-nudge feeling to the ultra violence, corny dialog and preposterous events (i.e. who needs physical therapy when you have will power?). Some completely unbelievable, messed-up stuff goes down in that flick. But hey, it's just a romp down grindhouse movie memory lane. I may be wrong, but I don't think that was the intent of the writers for Brotherhood of the Wolf. Basically, the tone and look was all wrong, wrong, wrong for such an ultimately low brow endeavor.

***Warning: contains spoilers***

First, it was way too long for such a cheesy mess of a film. Now I think Tarantino made the right move by splitting Kill Bill into two movies. BOTW didn't need to do that. Instead they should have cut the useless scenes, subplots that lead nowhere and the aristocratic romance. That's the second thing. Frosnac & Marianne's relationship was completely unbelievable. Sheltered, stand offish girl is the desire of every man in the province why? Because the characters said so, and the camera does close ups on her. Then this cocksure naturalist (with no aristocratic blood) waltzes in and wins her heart. So predictable -it gave me the dry heaves. But even worse was that he's like 35 and she looks like she's 16, 17 tops. Help, someone call CPS!! They should have done away with Marianne all together, and concentrated on the relationship between him and Sylvia. The intrigue and danger surrounding the witch/prostitute/undercover spy would make a much more interesting story than the banal affair with virginal Marrianne. At least it would be more believable- Frosnac looks like a dirty guy. Third- poor Mani. I had a feeling he was gonna die the second I saw him step onscreen. Following the formula, I knew someone had to be killed in order for the lead character to go ape sh!t and seek revenge- I was just hoping it would be Marrianne. (Sigh) I can't wait for Kill Bill Vol II to come out.
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Luxurious period piece marvelously filmed with good production design , evocative cinematography ,and spectacular combats
ma-cortes1 February 2014
Interesting as well as exciting epic movie plenty of violent fighting , thrills , inevitable ending confrontation and resulting to be a mix selection of genres . The picture is full of tumultuous sequences with frenetic action , surprises , wolf attacks , fierce combats and groundbreaking struggles . In 18th century France, a dashing hero , the Chevalier De Fronsac (Samuel Le Bihan) and his native American friend Mani (Mark Dacascos) are sent by the King Louis XV to the Gevaudan province to investigate the killings of hundreds by a mysterious beast (based on facts about an unknown animal who killed more than one hundred people in France at the end of 18th century) , a werewolf-like creature (made by Jim Henson factory) that has been massacring villagers . As an Iroquois valiant fighting alongside white blood brother . A huge wolf-hunt produces a pile of carcasses , but the attacks continue . Meanwhile , Chevalier and Mani visit a bordello , there meet Sylvia (Monica Belucci) , in fact the only person who knew the whole truth to both sides of the story regarding the beast and she manipulated Fronsac into dreaming and nightmare . Then , Chevalier falls sin love for a mysterious courtesan (Emilie Dequenne) and they are hindered by her jealous brother , Jean Francois (Vincent Cassel) . All of them become caught up in religious , political intrigues , rampant superstition and the vested interests of local aristos . At the end The French Revolution has swept the land and The Revolution has become the Terror.

This sumptuous period drama displays action-packed , Chop-Socky , thrills , swashbuckling , fast-paced and wild fighting images . It is an action-filled and violent film , being splendidly filmed by Christopher Gans . Director carries out an alchemical fusion of cinematic elements such as scary monster film , mystery , thriller , Kung-Fu and period drama . The movie was released in January 2001 and was a great success , as more than five million people saw it. Fights , attacks and exciting combats very well staged by expert Philip Kwok , the result is a strong entry for action buffs . Marvelous production design , set in 18th century France , though imbued with a 21th century sensibility . The picture was based on true events , in fact there actually was a Beast of Gévaudan which was a real wolf-like creature that prowled the Auvergne and South Dordogne regions of France during the years 1764 to 1767, killing about 100 people, often in bizarre circumstances and all the primary characters, except the Native American Mani, actually existed and lived during reign of King Louis XV. Extraordinary support cast formed by prestigious French actors such as Jérémie Renier as Thomas d'Apcher , Jean-François Stévenin as Sardis , Jacques Perrin as Thomas , Jean Yanne as Comte De Morangias Bernard Farcy as Laffont , Edith Scob as Mme De Morangias , Bernard Fresson as Mercier and Philippe Nahon as Jean Chastel . Thrilling as well as evocative musical score by Joseph LoDuca . Colorful and glamorous cinematography by Dan Laustsen .

The motion picture was stunningly directed by Christophe Gans and achieved big success at European box office . Universal Pictures paid $2 million for the rights to distribute this movie in the United States, and this movie went on grossing $11.2 million in limited theatrical release in the United States, making it the second-highest-grossing French-language movie in the United States since 1980 . Its director Christophe Gans is a good French professional who has realized a few but stunning films . Gans first realized Shorts and he then decided to make movies and directed one of the three parts of Necronomicon (1994) called "The Drowned" , later on , "Crying Freeman" from the famous Japanese Manga. And finally the big budgeted horror ¨Silent Hill¨ , he is nowadays preparing a new version of "Beauty and the Beast" .
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Greatly entertaining and deeply stupid "potage a l'aventure"
1M27 January 2002
They threw everything in the pot on this one -- oversized mysterious woman-eating beast, Machiavellian court intrigue, religious espionage, hot enigmatic gypsies and even hotter enigmatic Italian prostitutes, a rakish knight accompanied by a jujitsu-master "Peau-Rouge" (it appears, in fact, that martial arts instruction for both sexes was de rigueur in 18th-century provincial France), life-saving potions, conspiracy paranoia, incest, racial intolerance, amputees, bizarre weaponry, several cans of Whup-Ass, and a little French revolution tossed in for seasoning. And I've left out a lot. A ludicrous popcorn movie that should be very very bad but is redeemed by sheer reckless enthusiasm (the tone is demonstrated by our martial-arts Iroquois shaking out his long black tresses in Miss Clairol slow-motion). If it seemed fun, they threw it in. Check your brain at the door and enjoy The Dissolve - a cut so ridiculous and juvenile it has become an instant classic.
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Interestingly eccentric blend of horror, period piece and martial arts - but it loses a lot of steam towards the end
MovieAddict20162 January 2007
The Beast of Gevaudan roamed the region for three years in the mid-18th century, killing 80 - 100 people in this time range and prompting the king to call upon numerous hunters to track the beast and kill it.

To this day, the Beast is an unsolved mystery. Some claim it was a deranged wolf with a blood lust (since it rarely ate its victims and would instead crush their skulls with its jaw), while others believe it was an extinct species of hyena. Others believe the beast has been exaggerated over the years and it could have merely been an escaped lion. Then there are those who believe it was a trained creature working with a human counterpart - an early serial killer using an animal to help him kill.

The movie is interesting because, like Mark Pellington's "The Mothman Prophecies," it takes an engaging urban legend and instead of trying to find any direct answers or make it a film entirely _about_ the creature itself, it uses the backdrop as a means to explore other elements.

"Le pacte des loups" (The Brotherhood of the Wolf) takes the story of the Beast of Gevaudan and twists it around quite a bit. Some of it works well - the mix of period piece and action movie is a nice blend - but particularly towards the end, once it turns into an unbelievable Jet Li-style martial arts flick, it goes down an awkward path and ruins a lot of what it has already established. It's the one thing that pushes the genre-bender over the edge and it really does feel too bogged down by that point. Also, the revelations during the finale - involving the beast and the plot behind its motivations - are fairly weak.

However, the setup is fine, and the movie is an interesting oddity: a weird little mix of genres that offers a bit for everyone, even if its ending is a let-down.
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One of the worst movies I've ever seen.
BlobFromHeck12 January 2002
I'm all for brainless action/horror movies with lots of gore and nudity. Unfortunately, Le Pacte des Loups tries to be more than that, which makes the entire movie unbelievable. After a short setup, the film starts with a shot of pretentious religious imagery. Two strangers arrive and then save some woman and her father. One of the strangers is a martial-arts ass-kicking spiritual Native American (HE HAS A F*CKING TOMAHAWK AND MAGICAL HEALING POWDER FOR GOD'S SAKE! YEESH.) stereotype and the other is a dashing daring French hero main-character stereotype. It should be noted that the two hardly talk to each other throughout the entire film, which makes the last third of the film illogical and stupid. In fact, all of the characters are pretty much one-dimensional. The acting is not bad (it's not amazing either) given what the actors had to work with. Onto the plot: The film is a horror film wrapped by French royal court and religious intrigue. But since the film is mainly a horror film, the other stuff is just mentioned in passing and thus the imagery seems pretentious. Especially when you consider that the main character is resurrected. (Also, at one point the Native American character is laid out with his arms spread in a crucifixion position in a room where there is religious imagery all over the ceiling. Hmmm.) Anyway, to sum it up, the plot is stupid and unbelievable and the film is filled with gothic and religious imagery. None of that would matter if the film was a brainless action film. Unfortunately, the martial arts was pathetic. Maybe I've been spoiled by the fight scenes of some recent films (e.g. Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon) but I thought most of the battles were pretty lame. There's a lot of dodging and slowmotion kicks. Nothing spectacular. The final battle was funny because the French-guy main character, who suddenly gained kick-boxing abilities in the middle of the film, shoots flaming ARROWS (HE HAD A FREAKING GUN!) at people and SCALPS a guy. As I mentioned before, the movie sucked because instead of being a normal action/horror movie (the action is horrible; it's scary if you consider wolves in a procupine suit scary) it tries to throw in religious themes (which isn't in the film enough to justify all the freaking imagery everywhere. Even the Native American character is part of the imagery.) Oh yeah, most of the plot of the 2 and 1/2 hour movie makes no sense too. There was a lot of gore and nudity, which is always good. But I'd have to say that this movie is utter crap.
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"He's an Iroquois from the Mohawk Nation..."
zumajay6 November 2002
OK... that line was from the movie (or some variation of that line)... what do the French think the rest of the world is... IGNORANT? These were two different Native American Nations... VERY different.

Also, why did this movie feel like some sort of late night soft porn HBO b-movie? Those sediments also reflect the acting as well as the poor martial arts. You know the martial arts in a movie is PATHETIC when the camera gets too close to the character and the audience cannot tell what the heck is going on! ZOOM IN! PAN OUT! ZOOM IN! PAN OUT! Enough of that already... that was an 80's, early 90's era trick to make the audience think the martial arts was good. No longer... examples are Crouching Tiger, the Matrix, Once Upon a Time in China, Fong Sai Yuk... etc. etc.

Not even worth a rental...
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What the hell was that?
Superunknovvn7 August 2002
Since I'm a big fan of Vincent Cassel and horror movies I was looking forward to seeing "Le pacte des loups". Unfortunately the movie was a complete letdown. Started out interesting but then the story got more and more ridiculous. It seemed as if the makers didn't know what they wanted: action? horror? romance? drama? All and nothing. The martial arts were the coolest thing but didn't quite fit in. In the end I was glad when it was over.
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Confusing, but really entertaining
mrchaos336 July 2003
Brotherhood of the Wolf is all over the place. It's a French Revolution/ horror/ martial arts epic with style to burn, and makes up for the gaping holes in its story with sheer energy and sensory assault. Director Christophe Gans packs every moment of Brotherhood of the Wolf with either bone crunching action, (imagine if John Woo had directed Dangerous Liaisons), or some crazy audio / visual effects or busy scenes with beautiful people. Gans knows how to amuse the eye, he just isn't much of a storyteller, but Brotherhood of the Wolf is so entertaining that we'll forgive him just this once.
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worst film
dansam8828 December 2001
I don't have much to say about this movie, because of the fact that it was pure garbage. I've never felt the urge to bash a film more than this one. The plot is terrible.

I laughed a total of two times in this movie. One at the acting, and then after the credits were over. I was laughing at myself for actually paying money to see this "film". I don't even think that this "movie" deserves to be called a "film".

Why didn't this go right to video?

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I'll say this much...I did make me laugh out loud
waf018 July 2002
Every time a new genre was added to the mix it surprised me to the point of laughter. This movie seems to have been thrown together by many minds - all with a different vision of how to tell the story. It started out as a period film about the mysterious deaths in 18th century France, there was horror (expected) - then someone decided to add the action of martial arts with ferocious kick-boxing bouts. Someone decided to add prostitution, sword fighting, a desperate romance, the supernatural, and Frankenstein-esque science fiction, and all the blood and gore of a slasher movie. It ended up seeming ridiculous and the plot was lost amongst all the sensationalism.
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An awful piece of movie!!!
Eisenschwein3 October 2003
This movie is one of the most awful movies I have ever seen. I cannot understand how it is possible that it could get this high ranking. The actors are miserable and the plot is a farce. If it is based on a true story this fairy tale would be more credible. Sorry but this is my opinion!
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Great....Up Until Bias Reared Its Ugly Head Once Again
ccthemovieman-112 December 2006
Warning: Spoilers
This was on its way to becoming part of my DVD collection until the last 30-40 minutes when religious bigotry reared its ugly head once again. All the villains turn out to be Christians (Catholics). Every bad, every evil person is shown with a cross on them which is distinctly shown to make its point equating Belief with evil. All those villains mention God and prayers, of course. Atheists, whether they are French - as in the case of filmmakers here - or some other nationality, are never too subtle about their anti-God agenda.

Meanwhile, the heroes - one in particular - had supernatural powers that heal and even resurrect! In other words, that voodoo magic works - that's something you can believe in - but the prayers of thoughts of Believers, well, what a waste of time.

The photography was magnificent, too. The dubbing on the DVD version I had was decent. This was a fine, horror-type Last Of the Mohicans story but with all the religious people shown as the bad and ignorant ones. Too bad they had to have all that bias because the story was interesting and moved well, especially for a long film.
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This is a horrible movie
Peter Grunbaum11 October 2003
This movie is so, so stupid. The main characters are arrogant and not worth wathing. The violence is superflous and without meaning. The so-called love-story is a torture to wade through. The computeranimated monster is so so boring and wouldn´t scary anyone. Really the worst of France. I except the country itself to be far more interesting than this piece of trash.
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a bit of a mess if you want the truth
vampiresan8 December 2002
Warning: Spoilers
This film can't decide what it wants to be, and ends up just being way too long.

You will probably have read other reviews here before mine which mention the terribly out of place Kung Fu sequences, the pointless violence, terrible plot line and rather bizarre choice of ending.

What most have failed to mention is the incredibly weird sexism that is going on on this film. SPOILERS follow....

Why the beast is referred to as a "she" is never explained. Nor why it only attacks women and children. It is also unclear why the brotherhood of the wolf is called a brotherhood when there are clearly women in it. The whole thing was bizarre; and don't get me started on why they have a high official from the Vatican who is not only a female (I don't know of many high ranking Vatican women now never mind in the 17th century!) but also parading as a whore (seems unlikely don't you think)

Finally a comment on some of the previous reviews - many of whom seemed to be American. I have noticed many of them attack the French in some intense need to declare their own cinematic superiority. Yes i agree Brotherhood of the Wolf isn't a great film, but have these people never seen or heard of Delicatessen, or Amelie or Cyrano De Bergerac or Betty Blue all fabulous French films.

And by the way didn't the Americans give us films starring Sinbad, as well as Hudson Hawk, The Animal and anything starring Adam Sandler. People in glass houses....
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