Brotherhood of the Wolf Reviews
Saw this on 4/12/15
It may not be as delightfully entertaining as Sleepy Hollow, but still it is well shot and has a few twists here and there that would prove to be in favour of it. The casting is good with now famous actors Monica Bellucci and Vincent Cassel being part of it. On the whole it's a good one time watch that is sadly more forgettable than it is memorable.
"Brotherhood of the Wolf" (Le Pacte des loups) is loosely based on a real-life series of killings that took place in France in the 18th century and the famous legend of the Beast of Gévaudan. I saw this stereotypical and formulaic mish mash of genres (horror, martial arts, swashbuckling adventure, historical costume drama) when it came out and of some reason I had forgotten partly what I did think of it back then so I decided to re-see it. And I can say that I simply don´t like this overacted and genre mixed piece of film. Everything is so stretched out and prepared for the MTV hyperkids to go bananas when seeing this technical stylised focused film leaving little left for character developments and a general believable look and feel from the time period. It´s mostly poor and not believable acting from the actors, too much camera technique involved during the movie, a testosterone pumped storyline that makes you lose interest in the progress and a truly silly end fighting scene between de Fronsac and Jean-François is the icing on this puff pastry. Empire gave the film a three star rating out of five stating that "An undeniably handsome creation, but its excessive length and surplus of directorial flourishes merely exacerbate the emptiness of an initially promising plot". The blend of various movie genres such as martial arts, mystery, costume drama and horror attracted certain amounts of criticism. In particular, Peter Travers of Rolling Stone wrote "This new take on horror is more of the bloody same" whereas Stephen hunter of Washington Post said that it is "a mad agglomeration of styles and traditions that ultimately results in nothing so much as a mad agglomeration of styles and traditions." ultimately awarding the film a 0.5/4 score.
The story...uh, missed out some bits as watched the film in French.
Towards the end there are several sequences inexplicably, the movie turns into a martial arts action film. For most of the film, which runs nearly 2 and a half hours we've got a mix of a horror movie, a mystery thriller and a dramatic period piece so it's always throwing you for a loop on what is going to happen next. It's actually unfortunate that the story is such a mash of different styles because depending on which part you are most intrigued in (The mystery/thriller part of the film or the action scenes), at times you will find yourself waiting for your favorite genre to start up again. This really needed an editor to make some strong decisions and to cut back on some of the unnecessary material, if only to reduce the running time, but streamlining the story would have really helped. If you have the time and patience for it, it's an entertaining (if uneven) thriller with many great parts. (Original French language on Dvd, June 15 2012)