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Aug 10, 2008

Movies I Was Told To Watch - Brotherhood of the Wolf

New feature time. This one's pretty self-explanatory. Whether it be a recommendation from a family member, friend or fellow blogger, I'm told all the time (as I'm sure you are, too) that "you really ought/need/HAVE to see (fill in the blank flick). So, after I watch it, I'll post a few words about it here; most likely just enough to give my impression, whether it was worth the recommendation, and maybe the "record" of the recommendor (as in, "Almost every movie my buddy Frienddude tells me to see has been great. His record is 10-3.").

In other words, this is an excuse for me write a little something about non-theatrical movies that I don't normally write about. First up...

Film: The Brotherhood of the Wolf (Le Pacte des loups)

Recommendor: Alex, friend (aka commenter Nic Cage)

Thoughts: This 2001 French action pic (who knew there was such a thing?) feels like a strange-yet-interesting mix of The Village, Gladiator, and Last of the Mohicans. Samuel Le Bihan stars as Grégoire de Fronsac, a gardener - taxidermist - philosopher - all-around badass who ventures from Paris to a remote province to investigate a number of killings of the locals by a mysterious beast.

Legend, myth and hyperbole lead Fronsac and his Iriquois "brother"(Mark Dacascos, awesome)in a long quest to learn just what is this crazy, deadly beast, falling in love along the way. Monica Belucci and real-life husband Vincent Cassel co-star.

Brotherhood starts off well. The rogueish LeBihan (kind of a mix between Christopher Lambert and Thomas Jane) and his companion arrive on horseback to witness an elderly man and his daughter being beaten by a group of ruffians that we don't quite know yet. In the pouring rain (explaining the odd look they sport above) and in an open field now filled with puddles of mud (note: not the crappy band), Dacascos' Mani slowly descends from his horse and engages the scoundrels. Despite roughly 6-to-1 odds, Mani makes quick work of them using a hybrid of fighting techniques (some of it reminds me of Steven Seagal and his "using the opponents' energy against them" stlye called "whatever it's called"). Through this action sequence and the film's others, director Christophe Gans is wise and kind to his audience by backing the camera up enough so that we can see what's going on. Thanks bunches, Christophe.

Despite the excellent action and beautiful cinematography, the film lost me about 2/3 though, as the "big twist" turned out to be "blatantly obvious." Considering my track record with twists and turns (I'm not horrible at guessing, but I'm not great, either), the fact that it was SCREAMING its twist here is bad news.

However, that didn't take away all the joy. Still a good flick. Fans of action, French films, Monica Belucci's bust or scary beasts could all do much worse.

Recommendor Rating (Listen/Ignore): Listen (Alex's overall rating: 1-0)

Fletch's Film Rating:

"Darn tootin!"

7 people have chosen wisely: on "Movies I Was Told To Watch - Brotherhood of the Wolf"

Big Mike Mendez said...

Ahh, Monica Bellucci. Truly the only reason to watch this and many other movies.

Anonymous said...

I love this flick. I saw it in the theater and have the 3 disc Canadian version.

Graham said...

I really enjoy this movie. That first martial arts sequence in the rain is just glorious.

But the really great thing about this movie is the willingness to combine martial arts epic, period drama, and intentionally bad monster movie. I think your examples are well chosen, as I'm pretty sure the Village must have been intentionally bad.

Unknown said...

Yeah, this is a really solid action flick and I love how it mixes genres together in a big ol' blender for a truly funky hybrid of a film.

I really dig Christophe Gans' other films, CRYING FREEMAN (which I still don't think has been given a proper DVD release in North America) and SILENT HILL which is a vastly underrated horror film.

Shannon the Movie Moxie said...

I really wanted to love this movie but I found it s-l-o-w and a little dry (and I'm Canadian!).

Anonymous said...

I thought this was a great movie. It was a little hard to follow in parts, but a terrific mix of martial arts and fantasy! Mark Dacascos is fantastic and Monica Bellucci is gorgeous as usual!

Nick said...

I rented this movies ages ago when its hype was first really big... and I fell asleep every time I attempted to watch it (no matter what the time of day was). So that left a bad impression of the movie on me. Also, I believe I was right there with you on the over-predictability of the twist, and that often sets movies down a few notches with me, as well.

However, now that I'm older, I might attempt this one again and see what I think.