Director Christophe Gans has given us an exhilarating ride with this stylish period thriller. The story involves the Beast of Gevaudan, which in 1764, terrorized a remote district of France, killing more than 100 people and tearing out their hearts and vitals.
As the film opens, the king has dispatched eminent scientist Gregoire de Fronsac (played by Samuel le Bihan), along with a muscle-bound Iroquois blood brother named Mani ( Mark Dacascos), to investigate. The creature responsible is reportedly a monstrous wolf, but as the pair investigate, they discover that several of the locals may know more about the affair than they’re admitting. Why is aristocrat Jean-Francois de Morangias ( Vincent Cassel) so indecisive towards the duo and is the prostitute Sylvia ( Monica Bellucci) just a little too savvy and sophisticated for someone who earns their living from dusk till dawn? There’s also the small matter of Marianne (Dequenne), Jean-Francois’ virginal sister who fascinates Grégoire and then drives him into the arms of Sylvia.
Brotherhood of the Wolf encompasses every genre of film; martial arts, action, romance, thriller, horror, drama, everything. There is the strikingly elegant and almost hypnotic courtesan Monica Bellucci, playing her role of seductress with ice-cold professionalism. In complete contrast there is the innocent, fragile, and astonishingly beautiful, Emilie Dequenne, younger sister to the protective Jean Francois.
The two leads are fantastic and share a chemistry reminiscent of the relationship between Butch and Sundance. Then there is Vincent Cassel who is suitably creepy as the immoral ‘Morangias”. Atmosphere and suspense are strong throughout, and definite care is taken with the sound editing, whether it be the ceaseless patter of the driving rainfall or the heaving atmosphere of a noisy brothel. The horror or ‘attack’ sequences are artfully played out, quietly refusing to reveal the identity of the creature; but when at last it is shown, the special effects do not disappoint.