I had absolutely forgotten that I had seen the trailer for this film when it was released, a whopping 13 years ago, until I saw it whilst perusing the shelves looking for something entertaining to fill my friday night. What I remembered though was that the trailer looked absolutely amazing, and the film didn’t disappoint. Its probably impossible to explain what genre the film is succinctly, so you’ll just have to accept ‘historical, kung fu, horror, wolf film, love story type thing – set in France’. That is, it plays as fast and loose with French history as it does with its genres. This is no bad thing, because we end up with a sort of mash up of brilliantly entertaining stuff. Its a bit like a really thick stew, you are not entirely sure what the next mouthful is going to be, but its probably going to be tasty. This kind of thing isn’t really big news anymore, some of the most popular series about at the moment (Game of Thrones…) combine all sorts of influences, but remember this was 2001, a time long forgotten to memory where people were just getting stuck into Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter, two franchises so generically formulaic that this cacophony of more usually demarcated material may well have blown their tiny underdeveloped minds. Truly, 2001 was a simpler era. That said, the Matrix was released a couple of years before, which might explain the slightly strange addition of quasi-kung-fu elements. Kung-fu made everything better in 2001. It has Vincent Cassel too, which, if we operated a star system on efihr.com would immediately earn this film an extra one, just because he is amazing in everything he does, even if he very often seems to be playing exactly the same character in every project. So you want to know the story? A huge, terrifying wolf like creature is terrorising the good people of France, it takes only the women and children and seems to be something like unstoppable. Enter our two heroes, Gregore De Fronsac (Le Bihan) and his sidekick Mani (Dacascos) (a potentially problematically portrayal of a Native American). These guys have been sent by the King, frustrated with the lack of progress in killing the beast, to see whats up. This doesn’t really give you a sense of all the intrigue, romance, random fights, pumpkin shooting, wolf hunting and other assorted goodies that go along with the story though. It might be best to just watch it yourself and you’ll see what I mean, just, for goodness sake watch it in French, unless you desperately want the kung-fu influence to extend to astoundingly bad dubbing.
Brotherhood of the Wolf