Film – Le Pacte des Loups (Brotherhood of the Wolf)
Director – Christopher Gans
Stars – Samuel Le Bihan, Mark Dacascos, Vincent Cassel, Monica Bellucci
Category – Foreign
Year – 2001
Budget: $29,000,000 (estimated) Opening Weekend USA: $475,181, 13 January 2002 Gross USA: $11,260,096 Cumulative Worldwide Gross: $70,752,904
Brotherhood of the Wolf is all over the place – let us just get that out of the way right off. However, the source material for this film is the legend of the Beast of Gevaudan. From 1764 to 1767 there was a man killing beast in the south-central area of France. You can read about it here.
The film is set in 18 th Century France, and the general story is the Chevalier de Fronsac (Le Bihan), and his Native American friend Mani (Dacascos) are sent to the Gevaudan province at the king’s behest to investigate the killings of hundreds by a mysterious beast.
It is a visually appealing film (not just because of the lovely Monica Bellucci), with excellent cinematography. The beast became so notorious that the King of France dispatched envoys to find out what was happening and to kill the creature. By the end, the Beast of Gevaudan had killed over 100 people. To this day, no one is entirely sure what it was, a wolf? a hyena? or something supernatural? The Beast is a popular myth in France, albeit one rooted firmly in reality; somewhat surprisingly it is little known to the outside world.
There are several versions of this film, but the best version of this film is the 152-minute directors cut. This film has it all, though not everything would be correct for this time in France. It has martial arts, dalliances with Native American religious beliefs, intense visual effects, and it is overall appealing to all.
It is not a difficult film to follow the characters but understanding whom is really for and against one another does leave some mystery. The film has several language options and captioning depending on your tolerance for foreign films.
Except for the character Mani (Dacascos) all the characters portrayed in the film existed and lived during the reign of King Louis XV.
This was an excellent role for Dacascos, as he became fluent in French, learned to ride a horse, and studied up on Mohawk culture. Actors Vincent Cassel and Monica Bellucci were married after this film and appeared in several other films together.
I do not want to say too much to spoil this one, because I do not think many have seen this one but pay attention to the character of Sylvia (Bellucci). It is not that difficult as Bellucci is otherworldly beautiful.