copyright © Jedo Dre 2011

Brotherhood of the Wolf is what happens when you mix a cheesy and violent American kung-fu movie with an elegant Renaissance romance. You get quite an interesting mix to watch. For an experiment group of, say, four people this type of gamble will result in two either leaving or falling asleep from boredom, the third trying to understand what the hell the movie is about, and the fourth one glued to the screen with his eyes not willing to miss a moment, even if he or she has to keep one eye on the subtitles at all times.

Taking on a semi-historical event, the film tells the story of two people hired to help find a beast believed to have caused a series of brutal killings in a French province. The setting is a pre-revolution France with the elegant realm of local nobility bordering the realm of a sci-fi thriller. The story starts strong, even if a bit cliché, but starts to weaken towards the end. In fact, it feels like the peak of excitement gets reached about 2/3 of the way through and from then on the pace slows down, as if the makers were starting to get tired. This causes for the resolution to be not particularly exciting and, considering the full version of the movie is almost 3 hours long, it makes one feel as if some parts were perhaps not necessary at all or that they should have been better connected, like an extra circle in the story spiral that should not have been made. Nonetheless the ending is quite satisfying.

The special effects are acceptable for a move made in 2001, but it's clear that the creators tried to steer clear of having to use them much, rather showing more of what's going on in the faces of the actors. Especially in the beginning of the movie, there is an accent on different characters, on helping the viewer establishing who is who, which is important in a movie with a lot of conversations. Thankfully all the actors are doing their part very well. Even the non-French viewers will recognize a few familiar faces.

Although Le pacte des loups mixes genres well, it still takes a certain kind of viewer, for this particular type of mixed genre, to truly like the movie. There are flaws in the plot, but in general, it succeeds keeping you connected, and at the end, the leftover feeling is that of interest to see the whole thing again in order to understand it even better. The actors are good and the film has style. All together - a success.

Brotherhood of the Wolf