Fascinated Fridays: Brotherhood of the Wolf, or Look! Someone Put Mark’s Subconscious on Film!

Howdy everyone. Today, for Fascinated Friday, I wanted to talk a little bit about one of my favorite movies of all time: Christophe Gans’s Brotherhood of the Wolf   One of the very first items I moved into our new writing office was my framed mini poster of the movie.  But, it is a movie that never really got a lot of love and attention, which I find a shame, because basically it takes a bunch of my favorite things and puts them all together.

What types of things am I talking about?

Well, the best way I can describe Brotherhood of the Wolf is that it is a native american kung-fu flavored-period piece-monster movie based on actual weird historical events.

You had me at hello.

The movie deals with the legend of the Beast of Gevaudan , a creature that terrorized the French countryside between 1764 and 1767.  Dispatched by the King to investigate, the Knight and Royal Naturalist Grégoire de Fronsac and his blood brother, an Iroquois named Mani, arrive in the region to hunt the creature.  As they investigate the predations of the creature, they begin to unearth even darker secrets.

The relationship between Fronsac and Mani is one that I love.  They are brothers in a way, having shared incredible experiences in the past that are only vaguely alluded to in this story, but their partnership is clear.  Watching Fronsac navigate the intricacies of the tension between the local nobility while Mani is often dismissed as a curiosity at best and a savage at worst, only serves to play up the connection between the two.

Mani is played by Mark Dacascos, before his days as the Chairman for Iron Chef, and he is awesome in this.  Other standouts are the always breathtaking Monica Bellucci, and Vincent Cassell, who is great.

The overall feeling of the movie is heavy with atmosphere.  The land is lush and rich, and has a wild untamed quality that is never far from my mind when I am thinking of forested regions in Fantasy stories.  There is a real sense of the darker aspects of the forest here, the type of feeling you got from hearing about old fairy tales when you were a child.  The images trigger that part of you that knows, deep down, if you go out into the dark of the woods, you will not find a wolf.  It will find you.

The action is fast and kinetic, and Gans uses some stylized action and slow motion about five years before Zack Snyder’s 300.  The idea of giving a martial arts film treatment to the Iroquois fighting style of Mani feels different and looks great.  The costumes are amazing and striking, with an emphasis on very cool period style overcoats.  Always a fan of those.  In fact, the overall look and feel of the movie is rich and vibrant.

Brotherhood of the Wolf is a thinking action movie, or a historical period drama monster hunt.  It is all of these, but more than anything, it is fun and beautiful.  If any part of this mixture of action, history, monsters, and gothic atmosphere sounds appealing, check the movie out.  Yes, it is in French, but if you miss out on great things simply because you don’t like to read subtitles, there is always the dubbed version, though I am not sure how the voice acting is on that.  Still, Brotherhood of the Wolf hits so many of my buttons, I love it dearly, and would love to hear your thoughts as well.

Until next time, keep finding things you love.  I know I will.

-Mark

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