BROTHERHOOD OF THE WOLF (REVIEW)
Dir. Christophe Gans
Reviewer. Dan Cook
If you were to throw Tim Burton’s SLEEPY HOLLOW, Stanley Kubrick’s BARRY LYNDON and classic martial arts features into a blender, the result would be BROTHERHOOD OF THE WOLF. A very strange and unfocused genre cross-breed, Christophe Gans’ handsomely mounted 2001 horror epic is undoubtedly a visual extravaganza; with consistently beautiful scenery, stunningly choreographed fight scenes, enjoyably visceral gore, luscious costume designs and undeniably French eroticism. However, it is also a deeply muddled, cloyingly overblown and surprisingly dull effort that at 2 hours and 17 minutes drastically outstays its welcome.
Set against the backdrop of pre-Revolutionary France, BROTHERHOOD OF THE WOLF tells of the legend of the Beast Of Gevauden, a monstrous creature that terrorised the people of a small French village as well as the men and women who risked their lives trying to kill it. Leading the charge against the mysterious horror is Gregorio De Fronsac (Samuel Le Bihan), a brave Knight and fearsome defender of the crown who, along with his enigmatic Iroquois companion Mani (Mark Dacascos), attempt to capture the beast and bring some much needed peace to the streets of Gevauden.
While the performances are good (particular that of the always enjoyable Vincent Cassel who is very memorable here as a slimy and rather vampiric member of the French aristocracy) and the cinematography and production design are absolutely top notch, BROTHERHOOD OF THE WOLF is ultimately let down by some very ripe dialogue, stylish yet distractingly anachronistic martial arts sequences, gratuitous nudity, overused directorial flourishes and unconvincing special effects that severely clash with the films otherwise credible aesthetic. An interesting yet highly flawed mishmash with plenty of bark yet very little bite.