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Film Title

Brotherhood of the Wolf

Director

Christophe Gans

Starring

  • Samuel Le Bihan as Grégoire de Fronsac
  • Mark Dacascos as Mani
  • Jérémie Renier as Marquis Thomas d’Apcher
  • Émilie Dequenne as Marianne de Morangias
  • Vincent Cassel as Jean-François de Morangias
  • Monica Bellucci as Sylvia

An audacious melding of more genres that you can shake a stick at and Taking basis from tales of an alleged beast in the of France, Brotherhood of the Wolf is enthralling and unusual in the best sense of the word.

The year is 1764 and in the province of Gévaudan, a spate of brutal killings of young girls and children is attributed to an unseen predator known as The Beast. As time passes, the killings rise rapidly in and other parts of the land, leading to much upheaval and panic as to whether the creature is something of this Earth. In response, The King of France sends two men to make some sense of what is happening. These two men are Grégoire de Fronsac, a naturalist and talented sketch artist and his blood brother companion, Iroquois Mani. They find lodging at the house of a respectable family of high-ranking, becoming friendly with the young Marquis Thomas d’Apcher, who has a big imagination and a lot of heart. The dashing Fronsac is skeptical of the Beast’s authenticity or that it is something demonic, yet must investigate this thing that is baffling and devastating the land. He along with Mani is frequently tested by things that don’t add up regarding the alleged monster. Many describe it as a giant wolf, but others who survived it claim it was a supernatural being. The authorities keep a lot close to their chest, which hinders the search for The Beast and leads to more questions of just what the purpose and reality of the Beast truly are. Meanwhile, Fronsac finds himself attracted to noblewoman Marianne de Morangias, much to the chagrin and jealousy of her one-armed brother Jean-François, who has inappropriate yearnings for his sister. Something of a libertine, he also has his head turned by the tarot reading courtesan Sylvia, who lures him into her twisted web. The attacks of The Beast continue to alarm everyone, and the intelligent Fronsac, along with the sensory perceptions of Mani, believes he is getting nearer to discovery. For what lies at the centre of the Beast’s mystery is something way beyond what either man expected it to be

Gans is an adventurous film maker it must be said and that puckish quality is put to phenomenal use in this bricolage film, that always has a kinetic feel to it. There is no shortage of drama or eventfulness in Brotherhood of the Wolf that ranks it very high on the excitement and swashbuckling action. From the standpoint of visuals, the movie is so alive and a lot of careful craftsmanship has gone into the sets, costumes and overall atmosphere. The editing conjures up a sweeping and adventurous spell, complete with clever dissolves and overlapping imagery for maximum impact. While it could be accused of over egging the pudding with the sheer amount of genres at work, Brotherhood of the Wolf is nothing short of high entertainment and the very fact that it is so unusual is what makes it strong. Half of the fun in the movie is trying to see what will happen next or what tone it will adopt, which is exemplary in my book. I mean you just look over how many elements the film juggles and your mind is blown. You’ve got the feelings of fantasy and horror through the bloodshed and peculiar nature of the beast( which for a long time is effectively shrouded in shadows before revealing itself). Action is frequently shot like that of a spinning martial arts movie, specially prevalent whenever is around. And obviously there is something historical in the film from the fact that the material of The Beast of Gévaudan is still something of a strange mystery. For many, Brotherhood of the Wolf may confound with the sheer amount of things going on in it. But wouldn’t you rather have a film that  is filled to the rafters with content instead of a movie where noting of much value unfolds? The music bursts with unbridled energy from the very first frame. You couldn’t have asked for a better score to match the devilishly blended cavalcade of events going on.

Samuel Le Bihan is a good fit for the thinking and slightly rakish Fronsac, who knows something is very amiss in this affair. He gets across the funny and intellectual side that slowly paves the way for a personal streak of vengeance and fury, as the mission grows to be something personal. The morphing from thinker to full on fighter is handsomely handled by Le Bihan. The mainly silent but intense Mark Dacascos lends a spiritual and physical grace to Mani, from his movements to his mannerisms that are largely quiet but when needed pronounced. Dacascos possesses an unearthly poise and athleticism that make the role of Mani one of action as well as soulfulness. Young Jérémie Renier is suitably as the youth who becomes enraptured and curious in helping the two men in their discovery. It helps that has a charm and impressionable wide-eyed expression that is appealing and endearing. The three main guys of the picture work well with each other, obviously bouncing off the difference in personalities and attitudes that are brought together. A demure Émilie Dequenne handles the part of a stifled lady of prominence, who silently chafes at what is expected of her and is more than just an obedient observer when the occasion calls for it. Vincent Cassel nails the sneering arrogance of the warped nobleman whose desire for his sister causes a lot of creepy conflict, especially with Fronsac. Monica Bellucci seductively steams the screen up as the most mysterious lady of the night, who may very well have more answers than she gives out. Sly and capricious spring to mind when talking of her character and the stunning Bellucci plays that to the hilt.

A hugely exhilarating motion picture with deep imagination and a clear love of pulling things that shouldn’t really go together into something spectacular, Brotherhood of the Wolf is one of the most unconventional movies you’re likely to see, but that is what causes it to be so arresting.

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