Brotherhood of the Wolf
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A dangerous, thrilling mystery of chilling proportions, Brotherhood of the Wolf leaps from the screen with breathtaking action and incredible suspense blended with high-flying martial arts excitement. When a mysterious beast ravages the countryside, two unlikely heroes are called in to fight the evil. The only way they can save the land from this unspeakable terror is to face their greatest fears, unearth a dark power and reveal a deadly secret. Harry Knowles of Ainticoolnews.com raves, "A Remarkable Film. As Cool As They Come!" Jami Bernard from The New York Daily News praises it as "An Unexpected Touch of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon."
Top Customer Reviews
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).
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!
In fact, if you haven't seen it, or only have the single disc domestic edition, I would definitely recommend picking this up. However ...
Some time ago, I picked up the canadian TVA films 3 disc collector's edition, which comes with a booklet and DTS sound - good stuff.
This "director's cut" version released by universal has most of the same features as the 3 disc collector's edition from TVA ... but ultimately lacks what is necessary to be called an improvement. The only reason to buy this is : as a step up from the single disc domestic edition.
1. There is no collectable booklet and no DTS sound.
2. The subtitles are poorly translated - enough to distract me.
3. No significant improvement in picture quality.
4. It is not properly formated for the current 16:9 screen aspect standard ( second line of subtitles cut off ).
I would think, in this day and age, that any dvd release of a widescreen foreign movie would take advantage of the widescreen TV format and still have both lines of subtitles viewable. Nope. Formated to be viewed in 4:3 ( unless you want to watch it dubbed in english ). Sure, you can use some alternate picture mode on your 16:9 TV - but then you have to trade off having the picture distorted in order to use the full width and have both lines of subtitles visible at the same time. They had a chance to fix that issue for this edition and blew it.
If you love this movie like I do, buy a used copy of the 3 - disc collector's edition instead of this "director's cut" - same features as this edition + DTS + better subtitle translation + collectable booklet. 'Nuff said.
(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
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