Samuel Le Bihan, Mark Dacascos, Monica Bellucci, Vincent Cassel
Brotherhood of the Wolf is an odd film to place in
the scheme of genres. This French import has all the features
of a historical political timepiece, martial arts action flick,
and sci-fi/occult horror feature. Each of these separate genres
seem to be blended together to make an interesting film that
draws you into the story as it manages to gain more and more
The story begins as Gregoire de Fronsac, taxidermist for
King Louis XV, and his "blood brother" Mani, a Native American
he brought back with him from the Americas, are sent to the
province of Gevaudan to investigate a series of brutal murders.
Over the past two years, a beast has been killing locals.
Fronsac's orders are for him to discover more about the murderous
beast, which is rumored to be many things, even a large wolf.
During his stay, Fronsac meets the acquaintance of Mariane
De Morangias, who he becomes romantically inclined with, and
her brother, Jean-Francois, who lost an arm in Africa during
The story, at first, seems to unfold with a regular manner
to it. You're given a good idea of the main players and even
some time with some of the smaller players. The story throws
a few odd sequences here and there, but once you think that
things are going to work out a certain way, the story makes
a shift that I found really nice. Instead of just a hunt for
a "mystical" beast with what would seem to be a reasonably
sound ending, you're given a grand shift that tears the main
characters into a far different tale of secret societies and
plots against the King.
The film is shot with an interesting manner that really plays
up the action and mystical themes of the story. A lot of the
scenes are filmed with a moving camera that goes along with
the pace of the story. Also, there are a number of shots run
with varying speeds. A scene may start at regular speed, only
to slow down for a pause to emphasize a certain moment, and
then go back to full speed, giving the impact more emphasis.
While this technique is used often, it's never done too often
as to make it feel gimmicky. Throw in a lot of wonderfully
imaged scenes and some brilliant color and lighting work and
you have a nice film that's great to watch.
People who find distaste in English dub can always switch
over to the French track, but I would have to commend Brotherhood
for presenting one of the better English Dubs I've heard in
some time. The on-screen performances are accented well with
the dubbed voices and it helps carry the interesting story
well without fault of weak translation or poor timing. The
musical score, rather than taking a more plain and traditional
role, shows a great deal of variety and really works wonders
with the way the movie is filmed. No single piece is greater
than the rest, but the score as a whole carries a great deal
of the ambiance.
Brotherhood features a number of well orchestrated
fight sequences to go along with the story. Mark Dacascos
exhibits some fine skills in his fighting scenes. Throw in
some nice costuming and set design to seal the timepiece aspect
of the movie and you have a great film that works well.
While the bulk of the movie is finely done, I did find a
few things I wish had been done differently. While the beast
remains hidden throughout the first part of the film, once
he's shown off, he looses a bit of the "magic" about it, making
it less of a mystery and more of just something that needs
to be hunted. Also, the ending, while drawn out, seems to
be a little too convenient. The events leading up to the conclusion
of the film are fairly traumatic and once the ending is delivered,
it seems to be a fairly simple wrap up compared to everything
that came before.
Brotherhood of the Wolf is an excellent action film
that most should try and check out. If you're a purist and
don't like your genre's merged as they have been here, you'll
want to skip this piece.