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."
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My only regret is not purchasing this movie way back when, but "better late than never", as the saying goes.
There is some theatrical license taken with circa 1765 central France history, but enough culture truisms remain to pique my interest. Some research upon "the Beast of the Gevaudan" might be merited for skeptics. There is strong violence, gore, and a pitchfork is used at one point (as a trident against the beast), along with some bad guy weapons that sort of resemble Wolverine in "X-Men." There are crossbows, swords, rifles, pistols, martial arts, mysticism, transcendentalism, condescending hubris, poisons & antidotes (drug use), smoking, alcohol, humor, beautiful women, abundant nudity, sex, horror, politics, romance, fantasy, conspiracy on a grand scale, corruption, greed, avarice, lust, wrath, sloth, envy, and gluttony. In other words, what an R-rated movie SHOULD include (not just for violence and language).
The non-fiction book form of this story is "L'Innocence des loups (The Innocence of the Wolves) by Michel Louis, which is based upon historical fact, and a bit of legend thrown in. A screenplay was adapted from the book; which subsequently inspired the writers and director of this movie.
This DVD presentation was partially filmed at Chateau de Roquetaillade, Maeres, Gironde, France; and at Esparros, Hautes-Pyrenees, France. It won awards for costumes; best new actress; best music; best director; best special FX; best supporting actor; best supporting actress; best writing; and best action/adventure/ thriller/fantasy film. If you're a whining wiener who just isn't happy until something negative is said, you'll notice some of the soldiers have muskets with percussion locks, which weren't patented until roughly a hundred years after the intended time period of this film. The mob toward the end of the movie gets ugly in their contempt for the Marquis d'Apcher; because he was wealthy and had influence. You might recall King Louis XVI was guillotined along with his wife Marie Antoinette during the French Revolution; about 28 years after this film's intended time period (that isn't part of this film, nor will it be on the test on Friday). Universal Pictures paid for the rights to "Brotherhood of the Wolf" and it became the second highest grossing French-language film shown in the United States over the last 20 years.
Mark Dacascos portrays an Iroquois Indian with some impressive martial arts skills (in the film; and in real life) and is said to have done the majority of his own stunts himself.
Samuel Le Bihan; Vincent Cassel; Emilie Dequenne; Monica Bellucci; Jeremie Renier; Mark Dacascos; Jean Yanne; Jean-Francois Stevenin; Jacques Perrin; Johan Leysen; Bernard Farcy; Edith Scob; Hans Meyer; Viginie Darmon; and Philippe Nahon are the A-list appearing in this film.
There was some strong resemblance to the 2011 released film "Age of the Dragons" which stars Danny Glover because of the protagonist & sidekick partnership; and romance between the protagonist and heroine similarities. The mystic martial artist side kick in the film about dragon-slayers was a different actor, but I checked.
SPOILER - ALERT !! My only complaint was regarding to the lack of identity for the monster - although it is shown multiple times during the film.
set as the French Revolution burst into flame, the story is told in flashback by the Marquis, who in the tale is a youngster, accepting as his house guest a naturalist sent by the king to investigate the predations of a mysterious "Beast." With the Chevalier is his companion from New France, A Mohawk Indian who's better equipped to track the Beast than all the king's men. When they find is more than a wild animal,however. There's a romance, as well as side trips and little conversations setting the stage for the opinions of that century, but the hunt for the creature is first and foremost.
Originally filmed in French, the dubbing is excellent with the voices matching the actors. It's a pity the English-speaking cast wasn't included...or perhaps it was, since the cast credits are also in French. It's a beautiful piece of cinematography though a bit graphic in places, well-acted, well-directed, authentically costumed...to be savored and thought about.