Brotherhood of the Wolf

release year: 2002
genre: horror/drama
viewing setting: home DVD, 1/4/03

synopsis: A fearsome beast is killing people in a remote French province, so the king sends a couple of agents to take care of the problem.

impressions: Very well-done, stylish, and atmospheric. Its only flaw was that it was too artsy at times - but a movie kind of has to be that way when it represents European culture in the 1700s. There were good action scenes and a lot of subplots, not to mention some surprises throughout the movie.

   Fronsac: the king's taxidermist and expert on animal life, he makes it his mission to find and stop the beast
   Mani: karate Indian from America, Fronsac's faithful blood brother and kicker of ass
   Marianne: spirited local noblewoman, slowly falls for Fronsac
   Jean-Francois: Marianne's one-armed brother, he has some shady motivations
   Thomas: innocent young local nobleman, enjoys helping Fronsac hunt the beast
   Sardis: local priest, doesn't like the way Fronsac goes about the hunt
   Sylvia: prostitute fortune-teller, takes a liking to Fronsac
   the beast: bizarre, savage monster than strikes without warning and mauls anyone in its way
   the savages: wild, violent people who roam around and cause trouble for no apparent reason

things to watch for: Any of Mani's three fight scenes with human foes, also the one with the beast and the traps.

acting: The names of the actors won't mean much to you if you don't follow French cinema, and it's hard to rate acting for a foreign film which I watched with subtitles. Having said that, there were a number of outstanding performances here, notably from Samuel Le Bihan as Fronsac, Mark Dacascos as Mani, and Emilie Dequenne as Marianne.

final word: A bit long and artsy, but always entertaining - worth seeing.

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