This is the most elaborate fusion of film genres yet in
this era of such films. The Brotherhood of the Wolf is a weird
mix of Barry Lyndon + Crouching
Tiger, Hidden Dragon + The
Last of the Mohicans + The
Wolf Man. The setting is a small village in 18th century France.
The populace is being terrorized by a beast who is killing women in a horrific
manner. The French army has been unable to find the beast so the
King sends the the Chevalier de Fronsac (Samuel le Bihan) who fought in
New France and his blood brother, a Mohawk Indian (Mark Dacascos), to find
the beast. OK, we know that Indians (not referred to as native americans
or first people in the 18th century) can track animals but where did he
learn the martial arts? Nevertheless, he learned it somewhere and
spends lots of time in hand to hand combat with lots of bad guys.
Oh ya, he's the last of his tribe. (Dacascos is actually Hawaiian
and a martial arts champion.) He and the Chevalier immediately find that
there is more afoot than just one supernatural beast. The Chevalier
decides that he can best spend his time courting the lovely Marianne de
Morangias (Emilie Dequenne) and hanging around the local brothel with an
Italian prostitute (Monica Bellucci). Mani, even though he is a babe
magnet, stays aloof, befitting his role as Indian sidekick. He concentrates
on tracking the beast and as a result, his fate is that of many movie sidekicks.
The lovely Marianne has a nasty, one-armed brother (Vincent Cassel) who
has the funniest line in the film when he asks,``Am I Gauche?" His right
arm is missing. This film has had a lot of buzz for a French
film with subtitles. And the trailer looked cool. Unfortunately,
the trailer turned out to be more exciting than the actual movie.
The plot is all a bit murky and the film doesn't move along very briskly.
The director, Christophe Gans, could have cut out quite a bit in
the middle. The Brotherhood of the Wolf feels every bit as
long as its 142 minute running time. This film is definitely all
about style and lacking in substance, and since I had it all figured out
halfway through, I spent a lot of time waiting around for the inevitable
confrontation between the Chevalier and the beast. The direction
is stylish but silly including viewing the world through the beast's eyes.
There's lots of slow motion and even stop motion footage as hapless women
are hunted down by the beast. There's even a riff on Jaws in how
the first victim is killed. And there's lots of nice overacting.
Both the Chevalier and Mani get lots of chances to shake their gorgeous
manes at the jeunes filles. And the beast turns out to be a bit of