I don't think this was a very good movie, but Fucking A, I loved this movie!
Talk about visually exciting!
Everybody is saying the same thing about this, but fuck it, I've never claimed to be an original, so I'll say it too, if you take The Matrix, CROUCHING TIGER HIDDEN DRAGON, SLEEPY HOLLOW, and Hell, why not, Jaws and maybe even Dangerous Liasions too, and throw them all in a great big movie pot, Le Pacte Des Loups is what you're cooking, and it is tasty!
Dubbed The Brotherhood of the Wolf for us simple minded American folk, this movie tells the tale of an apparently real legend of The Beast of Gevaudan, then runs with it, and runs with it, until there is really no basis in reality anymore, and AMEN to that. The true story is probably nothing more than a rabid wolf that killed some people in the 1700s. This version is much more interesting, although the story itself is definitely the weakest link (good bye).
Visually though, director Cristophe Gans get's an A++ for effort. When you mix several rather difficult genres, such as the period piece, costume drama, horror, martial arts, and cutting edge action adventure, you're either very stupid, or very, very ambitious, and I'd like to think Gans is definitely the latter. The movie just has a really great look to it, dark and gloomy, but also colorful and vivid, with sweeping aerial shots, tight close-ups and modern camera tricks that have been imitated, but never really duplicated since The Matrix.
The cast was very good here, but I only know two off them, and one of them is only by reputation.
The star is Samuel Le Bihan, the apparent love child of David Lee Roth and Vince Neil, with a little Gerard Depardieu thrown in just for ethnicity and vocation, not looks. I've never seen this guy, and being that aside from AMELIE I rarely see French films, I may not see him again anytime soon. But he was good. I dunno what his background is, action or drama, but he does both parts well.
His "sidekick" is played by Mark Dacascos, one of the two I recognize. He was in a string of B movies, the pretty bad remake of The Island of Dr. Moreau, and the really bad, but I really have no right to say that because I never saw it, but it looked really bad anyway, movie version of Double Dragon.
But where I really know him from is from the TV version of The Crow, The Crow: Stairway To Heaven, where he played the revered role of Eric Draven, much to the chagrin of hardcore Crow fans who thought the TV show was an abomination and one of the signs of The Apocalypse.
I thought he did a great job, but most of his acting is with facial expressions and some kick ass fight scenes.
The other person I recognize is Monica Bellucci, an extremely beautiful actress who reminds me of another European actress, the beautiful Isabelle Adjani. She's pretty amazing, but I can't really comment on her acting, what with the distracting beauty and all. Still, I'm sure she did a great job too.
The only other acting job I'll reference here is that of Vincent Cassell, who looks kind of familiar, but is pretty creepy, and would make a really good vampire, in an Anne Rice style vampire movie.
Fuck, I hope it's Vincent Cassell I'm referring to, because quite frankly all the names seem kinda the same to me…
The bottom line of Brotherhood is that it is a flawed movie, with a slow, and kinda confusing story, but it just looks so cool, it's hard not to like. It's a little gory at times, but not really as gory as you might think, and God Bless the French, there's even some nudity…um, I did mention Monica Bellucci is beautiful, right?