Mon January 21, 2002
Brotherhood of the Wolf
A trashy potboiler delight...
By Clay Lowe, WCBE's "It's Movie Time"
"Brotherhood of the Wolf" is a French Gothic Romantic thriller in the tradition of Victor Hugo, James Fenimore Cooper, and Jules Verne all rolled in together.
In this popular French potboiler, the Noble Savage returns in all his saintly glory. And although noble savages may be politically incorrect in the U.S. these days, what care the French for our forbiddens?
And what care they that the film's women exist either to give men pleasure, or to torment them. The French have always wanted to have it both ways.
Be that as it may, "Brotherhood of the Wolf" returns us to a 1760s France and features a soundtrack so full of explosive sounds that even my tender, feeble-hearing ears are still ringing.
Bodies slamming against rocks, steel clashing against steel, teeth set on edge by the ethereal sounds of a howling angry beast. Even Sir Conan Doyle's "Hound of the Baskervilles" would have had terrifying shivers running down his dark and evil spine.
A spectacular production with dazzling interior and exterior cinematography, "Brotherhood of the Wolf" skirts on the edge of the supernatural, but logic and reason always pulls it back into main stream realism. Even if some of the film's heroes miraculously seem to survive and even though, unlike real life, its villains either perish or get their due.
The natural world holds sway here, folks, and this posthumous look at French religious fanaticism of the 18th Century is as up to date as today's headline stories about stiff-necked Taliban terrorists.
Unlike today, however, justice is meted out by the powers of the natural world, not the powers of military technological might. In "Brotherhood of the Wolf" it's the wolves who band together in order to triumph over the villainies of corrupt and arrogant men.
Official French Site: "Le Pacte des Loups"
Clay Lowe co-hosts WCBE's "It's Movie Time" and programs the film series at the Columbus Museum of Art.