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Saturday, October 15, 2011

Brotherhood of the Wolf (2001)

As a horror fan, I love when a movie incorporates history into its story.

Gregoire de Fronsac and his Iroquois partner Mani are sent to the french province of Gevaudan to hunt and capture a beast that has been attacking people.  During his investigations, Fronsac meets Marianne and the mysterious Sylvia.  As clues start to gather and Fronsac gets closer to learning the truth, he and his friends find themselves trapped in the clutches of a conspiracy that could shake the foundations of the nation...

"Brotherhood of the Wolf" centers around a very famous and very real "beast" case from France.  Between 1764 to about 1767, a series of attacks by some beast were recorded around the very real province of Gevaudan.  By the end of the creature's reign, 113 people were killed, and 49 injured.  Many claim that it was a pack of wolves, a hyena... and even that Jean Chastel- who is famed as the slayer of the Beast of Gevaudan, WAS the beast.

I'm not normally much for French films, since I find many of them TRYING to be high brow when I want something entertaining.  This movie isn't one of those high brow movies... and I loved it.

The fact that they center the plot around an actual historical event that I've always been fascinated by made the film more enjoyable to me.  The story itself was interesting, well paced and entertaining.  It had a nice blend of drama, horror, humour and romance even.  It wasn't a one note movie like so many made these days.  The characters were well written and interesting.  They were quite natural feeling, which helped make the events seem more natural and believable.  The general pacing of the story was great as well.

I was quite pleased by the acting in this movie as well.  Samuel Le Bihan was great as Fronsac.  His chemistry with the other cast was solid and natural.  I really enjoyed his scenes with Mark Dacascos, who plays Mani.  Dacascos was just a joy to watch as well- especially when he was kicking serious butt.  His quiet, soft spoken manner and speech really helped to make his character interesting and likable.  Emillie Dequenne was both beautiful and charming in the role of Marianne, while Monica Bellucci was extremely good playing the mysterious and seductive Sylvia.  In addition to Bihan, and Dacascos, I have to say that I was really impressed by Vincent Cassel's performance as Jean-Francois- the moody, and rather twisted brother of Marianne.  Just a phenomenal job.  The scene of Jean-Francois and Marianne in her room when he reveals a secret of his is just chilling and amazing.

I find that often, foreign films have the most original and interesting pieces of camera work in movies.  "Brotherhood of the Wolf" is no exception.  This is just a beautiful looking movie.  Great camera angles, camera movement, framing and compositon of shots, lighting, etc.  Just amazing to look at.  The opening fight scene in the rain is just a wonderous sight with it's use of wide shots, close ups, slow motion, edits, etc.  This film just shows off the director's great skills at visual storytelling.

This is one of those rare films that just gets all the elements right and becomes an exciting ride.  It engages your emotions and pulls you into the story.  I have no problem saying that "Brotherhood of the Wolf" is part of "The Good".

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