Friday, January 06, 2006

Le Pacte des Loups

A big, brash French beastie that bites off more than it can chew. It is after all possible for a film to be too stylish for its own good − especially when the style isn't itself the main content (as in Kill Bill for example).

The starting point for Christophe Gans' gory eighteenth century mystery is the myth of La Bête du Gévaudan, which the French are wont to characterise as their history's greatest enigma.

Brotherhood of the Wolf makes no secret of its very mixed extraction - many will be able to trace its lineage to precursors as divergent as The Matrix, The Beast, Dangerous Liaisons, The Name of the Rose and the Hammer horror films. Period authenticity has been compromised by the ecclectic mix of styles which inflect many aspects of the production, from the martial arts sequences to the rather distracting soundtrack.

Gans loosely tracks the known historical events for the first half of the story before really letting go. By the end we have discovered (amongst other things) that Monica Bellucci's character Sylvia is an Italian prostitute working as a secret agent for the Papacy!

We were both left highly entertained, but also feeling that the whole spectacle could have been turned down a notch or two to good effect.

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