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Brotherhood Of The Wolf
Brotherhood Of The Wolf (Soundtrack)

Brotherhood Of The Wolf Review

Directed By: Christophe Gans.
Starring: Samuel Le Bihan, Mark Dacascos, Vincent Cassel, Emilie Dequenne, Monica Bellucci.

Scroll Down for a second review by Tom Servo

Synopsis: Set in 1765 during the reign of Louis XV, a mysterious creature is laying waste to the countryside in a rural province of France, savagely killing scores of women and children. Unseen, possessed of enormous strength and a seemingly near-human intelligence, the beast has eluded capture for years. Desperate to end the growing unrest of the populace, the King sends in a renowned scientist and his Iroquois blood brother, an unconventional team whose combined methods and capabilities may finally bring the beast down.

This is one weird little mish-mash of a movie that has been both a frusterating watch and an eye-opener as to what one might expect over the next few years in the realm of film making. Director Christophe Gans has taken a series of genres, martial arts, period piece, western and horror, slammed them together and come up with Brotherhood of the Wolf.

So many elements and so many mixed feelings on this one for me. When it worked, it had me, I was suckered in and watching every frame carefully, but then elements took me out of the film and I had to fight to get back in...perhaps this stemmed from not knowing what I was in for or maybe it was the fact that I am unaccustomed to so many mixed elements it just didn't feel right. Either way, I have recommended it as viewing to some and told others to stay away.

Influenced by so many forms of film from Hollywood to the B-Movie and Chop-Socky flicks...hell, even old style Hammer Films it is perhaps this meshing that is it's greatest achievement and at the same time, it's downfall. Sometimes one flows from the gothic look into the martial arts while other segments seem forced and challenging to the viewer and at other times, it just seemed at points the director was so busy cramming more and more material in the that the seems began to let loose, dropping content over style...but again, not always.

Our heroes, a sort of Sherlock and Watson duo in the form of Fronsac (who I swear would be played by Christopher Lambert twenty years ago) is played by Samuel Le Bihan and his cohort Mani (Mark Dacascos), an Indian from Trois Riveres who has becomes Fronsacs blood brother. When the duo first enter into the small French Province of Gévaudan they meet a group of men chasing an unarmed father and daughter. Mani drops from his horse and there ensues the first battle, a wild melee of fists, sticks and feet with huge, overblown sound accompanying each blow. It is here that one should take note that director Christophe Gans latched onto stunt coordinator Philip Kwok (who lists among his extensive credits such classic violent ballets as Tomorrow Never Dies and Hard-Boiled).

The frightening aspect of this film? The plot is actually inspired by a series of wolf attacks that took place back in the 1760s. Apparently this shook the town up so much that King Louis XV sent in hunter's to terminate the animal. The political covering of the time was his hunters killed a wolf and displayed the body as The Beast of Gévaudan. Of course, it wasn't the creature and more killings ensued but without CNN no one really knew the difference.

So much of this film I liked that when it took turns that seemed false, inconsistent, or just plain goofy I hard to work hard to get back into the flow of the film. Still, I'd watch it again if just for some of the fight scenes. A bloody 3 out of 5 stars...with a warning that this film is not for everyone's tastes...especially when it comes with the fact that it is subtitled.

Copyright© Written By: Rob Paul

This week, I was finally able to catch the film that I heard so much about at the Toronto Film Festival last year. This movie shifts gears so many times, it's almost dizzying. Among other things, it's part horror film, part kung fu and part period piece.

Set in 18th century France, Brotherhood tells the story of Grégoire de Fronsac (Samuel Le Bihan) and his Iroquois Indian companion Mani, (Mark Dacascos of TV's The Crow) who are sent by the King to hunt down a wolf like creature that is responsible for the grizzly deaths of several villagers. Once spending some time in the town, Grégoire realizes that the fearsome beast is not the only danger that lurks around him.

This film has a lot going for it. It has great action sequences that are very well done. It is fair to say that filmmakers such as John Woo and Ronny Yu heavily influenced Christophe Gans. This is further proven by the fact that the editor of Brotherhood has previously worked with both of these directors. The scenery is fantastic and is creatively shot to give the countryside a menacing undertone. There are several colourful characters in the film, as well. The playful flirting between Grégoire and Marianne de Morangias (Emilie Dequenne) is charming enough for me to wish there was a little more of it.

I also appreciated the time taken to build up the Beast. Even though the CG effects are not first rate and a little bit of a let down, (but really, CG rarely comes through for me, anyway. Give me Stan Winston's creature creations any day) the film moves beyond this to make it irrelevant.

This film didn't wow me, but it certainly held my interest for two and a half hours. I think what it comes down to is that each individual genre is handled well and kept fresh and entertaining, but the mixing of these genres is where it stutters a little bit. Still, much credit is due to Christophe Gans for more or less successfully pulling off an extremely ambitious project.

Copyright© Written By: Rob Paul

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Evil Ash

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