Brotherhood of the Wolf review by The Grim Ringler

Brotherhood of the Wolf – Three Disc Canadian Import

Fair warning, if you want this version of the film you will have to seek it out. The American DVD release is pretty weak so for me, who loves this movie, I went and tracked down a good release of it. And this thing was cheap AND packed. All hail the land of Maple Syrup!

Brotherhood is set during the eighteenth century in France, in a small village called Gevudan, where a strange ‘beast’ has been killing woman and children for more than a year and no one can seem to stop it, let alone find it. The killings have gotten so bad that the King has sent out two men to see what is happening and how it can be stopped. Enter Gregoire de Fronsac and his Indian companion Mani, one a scientist, the other a warrior, but both tied together by a bond of blood, and both determined to find the answer to this beast. What they find though is a mystery – a creature that defies its pursuers, a village in desperate fear of a creature they cannot fathom, a pastor that seems to know well the wraths of God, and an empire that wants an end to the beast, by any means. But there is a conspiracy afoot and when it looks as if the beast has been caught – a ruse used by a servant of the King sent to replace Mani and de Fronsac, a man that will use any means to get results – the two men must risk everything to find what is at the bottom of the beast, and what it means.

So yeah, it sounds like a box blurb, right? Well, suck it up. The beauty of this film is that there is so much to it, so much, good god, am I gonna say it, richness, that you really need to see it to SEE it. It is not JUST an action film, nor is it JUST a monster movie, but it’s a period piece, a thriller, a romance, and dammit it all works. You care about the characters, and in caring, care about what is happening in this town because it affects them all.

The knock I have seen on the movie is its length, which is funny since Titanic is about this long and it FELT it. Man, I have seen movies that FELT longer than they are and Brotherhood, a really long movie, flies by. It is so interesting and, really, full of action, that you don’t get caught up in how long it is, which is the same way I felt about Lord of the Rings. And hell, THIS version is even ten minutes LONGER than the theater version, and I am happier that it is. This is a rare movie that uses its time well, and tells such a full story that it isn’t as if they are padding the movie, but more that they are just showing you a grander portrait. Hell, if we can sit through two hour-long Bond films I think we can last through this.

And man alive this is well done. Christophe Gans, for being his second film, is really a director to watch. Never do the special effects or the fight scenes steal the movie away from him, they always serve the plot, and never become like a mini-movie within the movie. Hell, he doesn’t even use as many straight up special effects as you’d expect. The acting is very good – my god is Mark Dacascos bad ass in this, good grief – and dammit, I just want to hug the whole movie. And as a personal aside, I am in LOVE with the female leads. Honest. Wow. But I digress – must get mind off hot women, must finish review, must…

The extras on the discs are crazy. Two eighty-minute documentaries. A heap of deleted footage. The movie is ten minutes longer. There are commentaries (which I have yet to peruse so I am not sure if they are in French with subs or what). And good god, just too damn many things to list, but you could not ask for more to be included.

This was one of the best, most exciting and interesting films of 2001 and I couldn’t be happier to finally have it in my grim little grasp. And I truly hope that people give this one a go. It’s a great monster movie, a damn good martial-arts action film, and is about as much fun as you can have with a period piece film ( I didn’t even mention how gorgeous the sets and costumes are, I mean, man I want a cool-guy Brotherhood outfit, dammit!). Thankfully the film has subs AND was dubbed by real live actors that ACTED, imagine that. So you can watch it and not have to read the subs and will still get to see an amazing film. I hope you do. …c…

9 out of 10 Jackasses

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