Le Pacte des Loups
Brotherhood of the Wolf
Richard Grandpierre, Samuel Hadida for Davis Films, Canal+, TF1
directed by Christophe Gans
starring Samuel Le Bihan, Vincent Casel, Émilie Dequenne, Monica Bellucci, Jérémie Renier, Mark Dacascos, Jean Yanne, Jean-Francois Stévenin, Jacques Perrin, Edith Scob, Johan Leysen, Bernard Farcy, Hans Meyer, Virginie Darmon, Philippe Nahon, Eric Prat, Jean-Loup Wolff, Bernard Fresson, Christian Marc, Karin Kriström, Vincent Cespedes, Jean-Paul Farré, Pierre Lavit, Michael Puterflam, Nicolas Vaude, Max Delor, Christian Adam, Jean-Pierre Jackson, Nicky Naude, Daniel Herroin, Gaelle Cohen, Virginie Arnaud, Charles Maquigon, Frankie Pain, Isabelle Le Nouvel, Albane Fioretti, Clarice Plasteig dit Caffou, Delphine Hivernet, Juliette Lamboley, Gaspard Ulliel, Pierre Castagne, Stéphane Pioffet, Eric Laffitte, Eric Delourt, André Penvern, Christelle Droy, Andres Fuentes, Nadine Marcovici, Jean-Claude Braquet, David Bogino, Emanuel Booz, Francois Hadji-Lazaro, Pascal Laugier, Erwan Baynaud, Michael Lataste
screenplay by Stéphane Cabel, Christophe Gans, music by Joseph LoDuca, visual effects by Duboicolor, Jim Henson's Creature Shop
Beast of Gévaudan
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France 1764: In the region of Gévaudan, a wolf-like beastis on a
killing spree, so the king sends biologist Fronsac (Samuel Le Bihan) and
his sidekick Mani (Mark Dacascos), a martial arts-wise American Indian
(?!) to investigate. Several attempts to track down the wolf (or whatever
it is) lead to naught, but at least Fronsac finds love in noblewoman Marianne de Morangias
(Émilie Dequenne) and sexual satisfaction in prostitute Sylvia (Monica
Belucci). Then a new man, Beauterne (Johan Leysen), is appointed to hunt
down the beast, and before long, he has shot down an ordinary wolf and
tells Fronsac to surgically turn it into a ferocious beast simply because
the existence of the beast threatens the king ... reluctantly, Fronsac
Even though his next appointment is in Africa, Fronsac returns to Gévaudan to finish his business with the beast ... and this time around,
it doesn't take him and Mani long at all to find the beast and even injure
it in a fight, but when Mani follows the beast to its hideout, he has a
run-in with the masters of the beast - the beast is really an ordinary
wolf cloaked in armour and used to terrorize the country and dethrone the
king -, a run-in he doesn't survive.
When he examines his friend's body, Fronsac realizes he has been killed
by humans, and it doesn't take him long to identify Sardis (Jean-Francois
Stévenin), a local clergyman, as one of the masters of the beast, but
this knowledge lands him in jail.
Prostitute Sylvia, who now turns out to be a secret agent in the
Vatican's employ, visits Fronsac in jail ... and poisons him.
It seems that the secret society led by Sardis, which includes many of
the region's aristocrats all hell-bent on rebuilding France, has won. One
member of this society is Jean-Francois (Vincent Cassel), Marianne's own
brother, who has pretended for the longest time that he has only one arm
(though it eludes me why) and who now rapes and almost kills his sister.
The finale sees the society congregating, when suddenly Fronsac - who
hasn't really been poisoned by Sylvia but put into suspended animation to
get him out of jail - intervenes, gives the whole society a good
thrashing, then the soldiers interfere and arrest everyone.
And Marianna and Fronsac after all have a happy ending with each other
It's hard to pass final judgement on this film: On one hand it's really
well-made, the camerawork is more than elegant, the action is beautifully
staged and the special effects, though not always totally convincing, are
beautifully inserted into the on-screen goings-on. On the other hand the
film features a very silly story but takes itself way too seriously. The
inclusion of a plethora of historical facts (there even was a real beast
but its secret remains a mystery) and some esoteric elements (hey, there's an
Indian in it, so there's got to be some esoteric mumbo-jumbo) don't help the movie
along one bit either and if anything make it even sillier. Also, with 140
minutes, the film is way too long for its feeble story and its own good,
and most of its subplots it could have done without as well. And why is
everybody in 18th century France an expert in martial arts ? Add to all of
this a lead actor who lacks the charisma to carry the film and you just
about get the picture.
Yet the film isn't all bad either, at times it's actually pretty
entertaining, it just certainly is no masterpiece.
In 2003, a very different and decidedly more down-to-earth version of
the same legend was filmed, aptly titled La
Bęte du Gévaudan.