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In 1765 something was stalking the mountains of central 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... Based on the true story of the Beast of the Gevaudan that terrorized France in the mid-XVIIIth century, the movie aims to tell first and explain afterwards. In the first part, a special envoy of the King of France, altogether biologist, explorer and philosopher, arrives...Written by
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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