nineveh_uk (nineveh_uk) wrote,

Film review: Brotherhood of the Wolf

One of the pleasures of DVDs-by-post is catching up with those films that you read a review of in the paper and wanted to see, but would never, ever purchase, are highly unlikely to catch on TV, and didn't see at the cinema on account of its being shown on three screens nationwide at midnight or lunchtime on a workday. One of which is Brotherhood of the Wolf, a 2001 French horror film that I am slightly irritated to discover is rather less horrible than anticipated so that even I might have watched in the evening. Which is a good thing except that I've been waiting about 3 weeks to have a free Sunday afternoon for the purpose. But I digress.

It is a sort-of werewolf film based on the Beast of Gévaudan, in which Our Hero, Grégoire de Fronsac, accompanied by his Mysterious Iroquois Companion, being a naturalist and taxidermist* has been sent to investigate a series of killings by a mysterious beast. Or rather, Beast. Who is, incidentally, always referred to as "she" in the subtitles. Are monstrous killer wolves always female in French? Enquiring minds want to know. So far so Hammer Horror (with a dash of Last of the Mohicans).

The only word for the whole confection is, of course, barking, and yet rather surprisingly it works. OK, the leads suffer from not-knowing-they're-in-a-story syndrome, and any viewer who doesn't get at least one guilty party on first introduction should never be allowed to watch TV again, the elderly Marquis d'Apcher, through whose flashback narrative as he is about to face the revolutionary mob we view the whole affair, would deserve the guillotine for his youthful mullet alone, and it has the most implausible brothel since - well, I was going to say Russell T. Davis' Casanova, but it seems unfair to single it out. Is there any work of fiction ever featuring a plausible luxurious brothel? There is Vincent Cassel being supercilious and strangely attractive**, some rather nice looking real wolves, attractive architecture, men in rouge, anachronistic gypsies***, secret societies, a dash of Midsomer Murders, evil religion, insurrection, a rather surprisingly good Monica Belluci as a tart who is more than she seems, and more and more madness that I won't go into in case anyone wants to see it without being completely spoiled.

It is, in short, by far the wierdest thing I have seen this weekend, and yesterday I went to the British Museum's Pompeii and Herculaneum exhibition and saw amongst various fascinating things, the statue of Pan having sex with a goat.

*It's relevant, honest.

**And oddly like Horrible Histories' Dick Turpin.

***Wikipedia says they are supposed to be gypsies. I suppose it makes as much sense as any other explanation, i.e. none.
Tags: film
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