A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this movie includes a fair number of scenes with copious amounts blood, gory swordfights and other very graphic violence, women in peril, and a hideous beast that terrorizes and kills dozens of people. The R-rating for this movie is appropriate both for the violence quotient and also because the movie contains a somewhat graphic sex scene in a house of ill-repute.
What's the story?
BROTHERHOOD OF THE WOLF takes place around the time of the French Revolution. A ferocious beast has been killing hundreds of people in a creepy little town in the south of France called Gevaudan. Gregoire de Fronsac (Samuel Le Bihan) has been sent by the King of France to find and kill the rampaging beast. At Fronsac's side is his blood-brother and close companion, Mani (Mark Dacascos), a member of the Iroquois tribe. Fronsac befriended Mani in the New World, and has brought him to France to help investigate the mysterious killings. Marianne (Emilie Duquenne) is the object of Fronsac's amorous affections. But she is also the object of another man's obsession. That man is Jean-Francois (Vincent Cassel) – who also just happens to be Marianne's brother. The story follows Fronsac on the trail of the killings. Will he get his man (or should we say, beast)? And if he does, what has motivated the killings? What (or who) is good, and what (or who) is evil?
Is it any good?
Some may say that only a guy could enjoy Brotherhood of the Wolf (Le Pacte des Loups); after all, the movie contains lots of guy elements: gore, martial-arts, and werewolves. But, there's more to this movie than blood and guts, and although it has its flaws, it's worth seeing. There are many aspects of this movie that make it both aesthetically pleasing and intellectually stimulating, as well as a bloody thriller. The scenery and costumes are gorgeous, there are some great martial arts scenes, and the sound effects provide an intriguing element that adds to the movie's depth. Also, the audience is forced to really think about who the bad guys are, and there are no easy answers.
The movie does have its flaws, though none can be characterized as fatal. It was hard to believe, for example, that Mani, an Iroquois Indian could be an expert martial artist in the 18th century. Also, slow-motion shots were used so often that they became tedious, and the movie seemed to run on about twenty minutes too long. Finally, the movie delivers too much information to the audience. There are things we just didn't need to know, and that didn't contribute to the overall story and effect.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how the townspeople in Gevaudan dealt with the beast and its killings. How did their actions compare with the way people today would deal with a similar problem? Did the townspeople deal with their fears appropriately? What does the beast represent? Why did they pick a Native American to play one of the main character's roles? How did he compare to Gregoire de Fransac?
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