Brotherhood of the Wolf

A thick mist blankets the countryside as two riders cut their way through the waterlogged landscape, man and beast alike soaked by a slanted rain as ignorant of mercy as it was of the difference between pleasure and pain, redemption and damnation. There was only the fall. Then, a commotion. A man and woman hunted by a group of men, unaware that their role would soon be reversed from predator to prey. One of the riders dismounts, his boots splashing in the puddles, creating tsunamis in miniature. Time slows. The men turn their weapons on the intruder, irritated at the interruption of their sport, but to no avail. Even unarmed, the masked interloper makes quick work of his opponents, moving faster than his opponents can react, disarming and leaving them to wallow in their misery in the mud, and the dirt, and the rain. Always and still, there was the rain.

The year is 2001. The movie is Brotherhood of the Wolf. The result is a cult classic in the making. Based – very loosely as is usually the case – on actual events, the movie tells the story of two unlikely friends sent to solve the mystery of reports of a vicious beast that is terrorizing the French countryside. For sheer value, one can hardly do better, as Brotherhood of the Wolf is really (at least) five movies in one: an historical epic, a romance, a detective story, a political drama, and an action movie. A story that involves secret cults, bone swords, brothels, royal politics, evil deformed appendages, and taxidermy, Brotherhood of the Wolf is a very specific sort of fever dream that could only have sprung forth from the collective consciousness of the early 2000s. As brazen as it is inventive, Brotherhood of the Wolf is nothing if not unique, and truly one of those films that stands alone almost as a genre unto itself. So join your intrepid hosts at the Reel Film Chronicles as they take you on a journey into the world of 18th Century France to unravel the mystery of the beast of Gévaudan.

Brotherhood of the Wolf (2001)
directed by: Christophe Gans
starring: Samuel Le Bihan – – Mark Dacascos – Vincent Cassel – Émilie Dequenne – Monica Bellucci
Adventure – Action – Horror – History
143 min

Transcript (via Apple Podcasts)

Hi there, welcome back to The Reel Film Chronicles podcast.

As always, I’m Nathan.

And I’m Brian.

And in this week’s very special episode, we’re gonna be discussing a little film called Brotherhood of the Wolf.

I wasn’t sure if you’re gonna open with Brotherhood of the Wolf or Le Pacte de Loup.

Le Pacte de Loup, for those of our French listeners.

It is a French film, came out in what, 2002 I think?

2001 according to Letterboxd.

Okay, Letterboxd, I will defer to Letterboxd, they are the experts on this.

We watched it around that time when it first came out and this is a movie that I think has been in our, between the two of us and I know in our group in university of roommates and film watchers, this is a big topic of discussion.

Maybe it came out at the right place at the right time.

With or without, yeah.

Brotherhood of the Wolf, I think this episode’s been brewing for a while here.

Yeah, I’m glad you suggested we go into this movie.

Obviously, I think what spurred it is both of us picked up the recent 4K release of this on disc and armed with our old school media players.

We popped this on and it’s only been ages since we’ve seen the movie, I think, at least for me, and ages since we’ve even talked about it.

But before we jump into the film, I just, a couple housekeeping elements, I just wanted to shout out that we were on YouTube now, not in any kind of real video form.

I don’t think we’ll be going down that road, but some of you in the podcast world know Google is kind of shutting down their Google podcast platform and moving everything over to YouTube.

And it’s like, yeah, it’s kind of those weird things.

So we’re jumping the gun.

I manually loaded the podcast onto YouTube.

And the nice thing about YouTube over some of the other platforms is that you can easily comment on stuff.

So if you want to reach out on certain episodes, feel free to leave a comment on our YouTube of that episode.

We also have our web page, which we don’t talk about too often except that it exists, but it also accepts comments.

So if you ever want to say anything, instead of possibly emailing in, feel free to drop a line at either of those two places or email, wherever, you can get ahold of us.

We’d be looking forward to chat.

And of course, the other, not really housekeeping, we’ll discuss spoilers for the movie, right from the get go.

So if you haven’t seen Brotherhood of the Wolf.

Oh, yeah, we will.

If you haven’t seen it and you have any interest, I think it’s safe to say both of us recommend the movie.

So go stream it, go buy it, go watch it any way you can, and then come back and check out our discussion on it.

But Brotherhood of the Wolf, like you said, this came out the right time.

In my mind, we went to Blockbuster, we found this on the shelf sometime, and we popped it in, we all just kind of fell in love with it, right?

Do you remember the first times we were watching this movie?

I remember we watched it, but I don’t know, like it must have been like a Blockbuster pickup, right?


Like if you look back at that time period, you really didn’t have like the large, like there were still discussions online about pop culture and movies and stuff, but I think people take for granted today, maybe it wasn’t as widespread as it is today, so we still weren’t getting that same kind of saturation in terms of our accessibility, in terms of like, oh, all these movies came out globally and you can access them all.

It’s like, no, we’re still having to do like, go to brick and mortar stores and do like a couple, I guess what you call blind renting or blind buying and just like, this cover looks really cool.

This description looks really cool.

Let’s take it home and watch it kind of thing.

The other movie that I remember doing that with, and this was basically like, as you said, you go in a blockbuster or any other video rental store and you just start browsing, like the main outer walls would always have new releases and stuff, but the inner shelves were like full of gold and random movies.

And the other movie I remember picking out randomly was, oh my God, why am I just blanking out the name of it, Ghost Dog, Way of the Samurai.

Oh yeah.

And it’s just like, you would just discover, basically at first maybe just based on the cover art, but you’d look it up and see maybe a director you recognize or an actor, everybody at home.

And when you’re with like-minded friends, just watching anything was a fun experience and discovering that was really neat.

So I pictured the same thing with Brotherhood of the Wolf.

We probably just, we’re at Blockbuster for way too many hours and you finally just pick up something off the shelf and be like, all right, this is gonna have to do for now.

And it’s a little treasury.

It was a lot of fun to check this out.

And then I’m pretty sure everyone just, we all picked up the DVD of this shortly afterwards.

Did you ever buy this on Blu-ray after?

No, I had the regular one disc edition on DVD.


At a certain point, I know a couple of years back, you were kind enough, you were at a secondhand store and you found the awesome three disc DVD version with all the special features that you picked up for me because you knew that I loved this movie.

But Blu-ray, I don’t know if it was widely available on Blu-ray in North America.

I didn’t really come up when I was like, because I love to go to brick and mortar stores like Sunrise Records or Cinema One and then search around.

I didn’t really see Brotherhood of the Wolf popping up too often until this 4K release came out.

I can’t remember the studio who did the 4K release.

Well, I think it’s a two-fold thing.

In North America here, it’s like Scream or Shout Factory is like release the edition, put together the packaging and everything.

But I believe in Europe with Studio Canal who did the actual remaster.

And that’s kind of confirmed when you pop in like the Scream Factory release here is that the Studio Canal studio pops up.

And there’s even a note at the beginning of like the restoration process.

And you’re like, oh, we, like this is the first time it’s been restored in quite a while from the original film negatives.

This is like, I kind of like that when you, it like lends a little more to the hobby of like collecting and watching some of these favorite movies.

It’s just like, oh, this, the studio took the extra care to tell us about how it’s been restored.

That this is an event upon itself that we were watching the new restoration instead of just like, all right, we just found this in the archives and here it is on disc, right?

It was just like, no, this was released for the format.

And I believe it was the, oh, the director’s cut that we watched.

And I don’t know if that edition we have includes multiple cuts, but I’m pretty sure back of the day, we probably just watched like a regular theatrical cut, as my guess from like the original DVD.

For what I understand, there’s only a few minutes of difference possibly between them, the theatrical and director’s cut.

But yeah, this movie, what, is about an hour, an hour and a half, it’s two and a half hours long.

I do always remember it being like somewhat of a lengthy movie, but.

It is an epic adventure, right?

If you strap in for this one, you gotta set aside your whole afternoon, yeah.

Yeah, and this movie, it’s also definitely a cult film.

Like, whatever comes up in conversation, you see it online, people are, it’s just, it’s always kinda like a found movie that they just recently discovered.


And I thought it was kinda neat, I saw a quote, so I’m gonna paraphrase it a bit here, but a cult film is a film that’s destined not to be liked by everyone.

It’s gonna be loved by only a few, right?

And it’s just like some movies go on, when you talk to people who’ve seen it and they all seem to love it, you’re like, well, this is a great movie, but then you realize a lot of other people saw it and they don’t hold it in the same regard.


This might be a pretty good example of a cult film for sure, cause like even I mentioned this to other friends, just like, oh yeah, that’s that movie you made us all watch years ago.

No, I get it, watching it again, I loved it as much as I loved it the first time, but I can absolutely understand how this is not gonna be everybody’s cup of tea.

It’s a little bit different, and it is, you know, for English speaking audiences, it’s a French film.

I like to watch it in the original French with English subtitles, and I know there’s been some, there’s some issues back and forth with different editions and different interpretations on the subtitles.

I know there’ve been some controversies online among the hardcore fan base about like, you know, these subtitles are better than these subtitles.

I think even on this 4K release, there was some, there’s some discussion back and forth about this kind of stuff, right?

Yeah, I remember, I think it was Scream or Shout releasing the Blu-ray version of Brotherhood of the Wolf a few years ago, and the forums, if you dare venture in there, be prepared, one way or another, but there was a lot of controversy over the subtitles at the time.

And a lot of people ended up canceling the pre-orders, including myself who grew a little weary of possible issues of like mistranslations.

And then they release the 4K, which is just like, you know what, forget it, I’m just gonna buy this anyway, but I’m kind of glad I waited, you know, a year or two for the 4K to come out.

It is just gorgeous.

But there are other like European cuts with possible different subtitles on it.

And even when I popped in this film, the default language option, I believe, was English.


And I had to take a quick second, be like, this is a French film, right?

Like it’s not English with a bit of French in it.

It’s just like, I have to manually select the French language track and turn on subtitles.

So if you haven’t seen the movie, and you’re still with us at this point, watch the French language version first, without a doubt.

Don’t be afraid of those subtitles at the bottom there, because it works out well.

It’s a much better performance for what I’ve seen as well, from the dubbed version.

Yeah, it’s always a little bit trickier to get that performance when you’re dubbing, and trying to translate those emotions from, you know, the actors performing on the screen, and you’re trying to match kind of their performance and their emotionality.

It’s like, it’s, you gotta get props to the, to that work is like the voiceover folks for dubbing translations like that.

It’s gotta be a heck of a job trying to interpret and vocalize that kind of stuff, right?

I’ve watched it a little behind the scenes on another film, on like their dubbing process and you’re stuck with the mouth movements of the original actors, right?

And you have to try and fit a different language to match them up as closely as possible while also translating their language on all the little idioms that may change from like, you know, just going from one language to another and make it as close as possible while making sense, it’s a huge task.

And it’s just like, that’s got to be a, I mean, that’s a daunting task regardless.

So sometimes it doesn’t work out.

And the subtitles have a little easier time.

They could usually do a little more like straightforward translation, I guess, but definitely a preference now to watch these movies in their original language, original performances, through all those subtitles and enjoy.

And this, yeah, it was a French film that came out, I think in 2001, maybe just in France, and late in 2002, it came out in the rest of the world.

I read at the time it was one of the most successful French films in North America in terms of box office and everything.

Worldwide, it made about $70 million on a $30 million budget.

It was considered even a bit of a curiosity at the time where it’s like a lot of French movies were not including these elaborate fight sequences and whatnot.

There’s a lot of martial arts going on in the movie and there’s a few different shooting techniques employed throughout that was a little bit different and felt kind of refreshing even on the world stage.

It’s just like we’re mixing different genres here.

We’re mixing those martial arts that you’d probably mostly get in more Asian action movies and stuff.

And then throwing in the possible supernatural element for natural element of like the beast, possibly being like a werewolf or something.

It’s just like, there’s a lot of neat things being mixed in here.

And I mean, it’s kind of a weird movie, right?

Yeah, well, I think to your point, I think when people hear French film, they think of something very, very, it’s more like almost like art house, right?

You think of like, oh, it’s something sophisticated.

And so like this was almost like, it’s kind of cool.

It’s kind of breaking down that barrier or going against that bias of like, yeah, it was French.

Because French cinema is extremely diverse as well.

They have all kinds of movies.

This was a perfect example, kind of breaking down those stereotypes.

Like, yeah, it’s a big budget action movie.

But yeah, I think one of the things I love about Brotherhood of the Wolf is that it feels almost like you get like, it was like five different movies.


In one, I mean, it’s set at the time of the, it’s framed, I guess, framed by somebody, essentially one of the main characters looking back.

You know, it’s during like the framing devices, the French Revolution is happening, and he’s looking back at the time when this, the La Bête, the beast was terrorizing this one French province and the countryside.

So, but there’s, so there’s the supernatural movie.

You have like the, the political drama of like the, you know, the king and the, and the upper class.

And I was like, oh, at one point, like the king just like sends one of his dudes in is like, just catch a wolf and like make them up, like use taxidermy to make it look like the beast is like, oh, problem solved.

It was like the, it was like the beast, the story of the beast was kind of destabilizing the king’s authority or, or, or, or undermining the king’s authority and kind of as working as you being used as an element to kind of destabilize the king’s power in different regions, being used as a political tool.

You have like, there’s a, there’s a love story in there.

There’s like a detective story in there, you know, as they’re trying to figure out like, who’s the beast?

What is the beast?

Is it a big wolf?

Is it something else?

You know, there’s all this kind of stuff.

There’s historical drama, detective story, supernatural drama, romance.

Essentially Brotherhood of the Wolf has it all.

It really does.

And it’s, I don’t know, like when people watch this movie and don’t like it, like I’m legitimately confused.

I’m watching it and like I’m glued to the screen the entire time.

It’s like there’s so much going on.

And not to mention the movie is beautiful.

Like it’s shot really, really well.

It’s not just like the 4K transfer of remastered that they did that looks great.

It does look awesome, but like the costume design and stuff, like it looks, I’m not an expert, so I can’t say like it looks period accurate, but like it looks accurate enough to me based on other movies I’ve watched from coming out of that time.

It felt coherent, right?


It’s like it felt like there was a specific art direction in mind and the carry that vision through the whole movie, right, from the set design to the costume design.

Like you’re saying, like they were shooting obviously in real places on location.

I don’t know if they were shooting, I’m assuming they were shooting in France, but maybe not, but like just like some of those views, right?

This is like the countryside.

It just really puts you, gave a real sense of place and gave a real texture to the overall story and the setting.

It was just, there were some of those like wide shots of the countryside and the mountains and stuff.

And it’s like, yeah, this is pretty amazing.

There’s no, there’s some special effects, but like you can tell like real people on location in real places.

This wasn’t like a bunch of green screen stuff, right?

And the movie involves real people.

Like it’s, I think I read every character on screen here was a real living person that is documented except for our heroes.

Well, there’s two heroes, Manny, the Iroquois, Native American, who’s like tagging along with his buddy here.

Martial arts master, right?

It’s just like, he was awesome.

That, oh my goodness, Mark Dacascos.

Mark Dacascos, who I was super stoked when he showed up in John Wick chapter three.

I was like, glad to see like the, I don’t know if a lot of Western audiences have seen this guy in a lot of stuff, but I was like, I think our first introduction to him was in Brotherhood of the Wolf, and it’s just so cool to have that kind of, his talent, his singular talent.

He’s a well-known martial artist, martial arts actor, and it was just really cool.

It’s like, okay, now the whole rest of the world, the rest of the Western world anyways, like it knows who this guy is and sees his work is really, really cool.

So they take all these real people, like loosely real events that there were a bunch of murders, like a bunch of killings during this time.

And I mean, the movie just kind of runs, it’s not trying to adhere to any kind of reality, but it’s still planted in that reality, I guess, and makes it kind of work, I think.

Yeah, it’s obviously framed by the French Revolution, which obviously for the world, that was a major event, but for France in particular, that has a special significance.

So a French filmmaker framing his story with the French Revolution, that has very specific significance, telling it from the point of view of one of the nobles involved in that time.

There was a bit of nuance to show the nobility is like, yeah, they were all obviously, they were decadent and they were corrupt, but like Grégoire de Francac, who’s the investigator to send in, he and Manny are the guys to send in, the king sent in to figure out what was going on with the beasts.

They’re kind of, he’s a chevalier, so he’s a knight, so he’s higher.

He’s a part of the kind of upper echelons, but he’s genuinely concerned about this beast murdering people and young women and all this stuff.

And you see like there’s some nobles who are like, just like, oh yeah, what does this mean for us?

It’s like, oh, we have to get some new workers.

It’s like, oh, these ones died.

It was like, oh, now we gotta pay for this other force.

It’s like, oh, it costs money.

Now we gotta have guards and stuff.

But then you see other people in the nobility who were, they actually did genuinely care, not to absolve the French nobility or any nobility of their exploitation of lower classes.

But it gave, I felt it gave a nuanced viewpoint to that.

And then taking the actual, it’s just like, I think of Cocaine Bear, where there’s like, technically there was a cocaine and there was a bear, but the real story is much different.

It’s like, technically there were killings.

And I think there were, if you look at the actual historical accounts, there were a series of killings, there were stories of a beast, but nothing ever came of it.

And so there’s a lot at plays.

Like they took that historical event and really, as an anchor, but then really built mythology of this world around it and it works so, so well.

It’s a historical fiction angle that I’ve really enjoyed.

Yeah, exactly.

Like even in novels that I’ve read where it’s just like, we know certain events take place.

Here’s the connective tissue and like maybe some outlandish description or explanations, but maybe some more grounded ones that like make sense in the world.

It was Bumblebee the whole time.

Bumblebee was fighting Nazis.

And one of the pivotal scenes and one of the most memorable ones, cause it’s been over probably 12 years since I watched this for this podcast.

But one scene I remember, aside from the incredible like fight scene at the beginning in the rain, when our two boys show up.

But in the dinner scene where our guy, our knight is-

Gregoire de François.

He’s just like, he brings back like this treasure from Canada.

He dreaded this thing out of the St.

Lawrence River.

And it was a fish covered in fur.

And immediately like these nobles are just like, oh, like it’s so cold out there that even the fish need like extra protection to keep warm.

And he reveals that it’s a farce.

And one of the other guys knows it’s a farce.

The guy plays, played by Vincent Cassel, right?

Vincent Cassel, yeah.

Who is actually, like should be a hint for later on because he’s also behind like the monster.

And so he kind of knows what this guy’s going on with.

But he, the nobles, they’re not full out saying that yeah, it could be a werewolf.

It could be something supernatural, but they want to kind of like go in that direction.

And he’s saying, no, it is definitely like, this is something created here.

Just like your monster may not be what it appears.

And that kind of plays throughout where they’re like, well, it’s definitely a wolf.

Such a grace.

It’s just like, well.

Great little bit of foreshadowing.

I love how like it showed, it was great.

Vincent Cassel’s character immediately is like, this is bullshit.

Like, of course, it’s the fish is not going to grow hair.

And everyone’s around it was like, all the noble was like, no, of course, in Canada, it must be so cold.

They’re all going here.

Like how credulous they were.

So like tying in, that’s like, yeah, of course, like religion was a lot more prominent back then.

There was a lot more superstitious.

Like they didn’t have like the advantage of like, you know, the scientific advances that we made.

And they were looking for a supernatural explanation.

I like that whole scene.

Like you think it’s a throwaway dinner scene.

It’s like, no, it ties into the themes and the plot of the movie so well.

It’s like in this microcosm.

Amazing, amazingly well done.

So that was one memorable scene.

The other one I mentioned already about intro fight scene.

Like these two guys show up on horseback.

You know, obviously there’s these like locals who are like roughhousing this father and his daughter.

And Manny jumps in and I just love it.

It’s where the movie shows you, we’re gonna go into slow motion every so often too.

It’s just like, we’re gonna highlight the epicness of like this guy’s boots hitting the ground into these puddles.

Like it’s epic.

And meanwhile, I’m thinking, oh man, like Zack Snyder took a page out of this movie’s book of like, we gotta slow down the really epic shots here.

Like the cinematography needs to be showcased here.

And the fight that goes on from there is amazing.

I mean, this guy takes down like five or six people who we find out afterwards are local soldiers.

Like these guys should be highly trained, like militia or something, right?

And he had no problem.

They’re like a militia force there.

Yeah, he had no problem dispatching them.

And I love that we get to see them afterwards too, and they’re all beat up and it’s just like, oh yeah.

Yeah, they’re saying like the old characters, they’re not just random characters, they come back to play later on.

Exactly, yeah, which it always feels so rewarding because you know the scene is not just, it’s there to show you this guy’s ability, but it also sets up these characters so you’ll recognize them later on and have that payoff of like, oh yeah, this guy is like, he’s responsible for kind of keeping the beast, like he’s presumably taking care of him.

He’s feeding him, making sure he’s well kept when the beast is injured.

You know, it’s inferred he’s healing them and the daughter is also in on like this crazy cult that is just like trying to strike terror in the countryside here.

It all ties into each other afterwards.

It feels so satisfied.

I never realized the people they were looking for, the very first people they met in the very first scene.

Yeah, it’s just like, oh man.

They mentioned they spend like a whole winter there and all this time is like, yeah, those very first people are behind the scheme.

And even when they’re prepping for the big hunt and there are many, again, people like want to test his abilities because he’s a foreigner, he’s an outsider.

The clan that attacks him, they have these, these all those Wolverine attachments of like blades on their hands.

The claws there, yeah.

And that’s also the same clan that’s behind the murders and the beasts and stuff.

It’s like they have to fight for them afterwards.

Which I just realized, it wasn’t just like a bunch of random dudes.

Why do these guys have claws like this?

Nobody else has these melee weapons.

It’s just like, why do these guys do?

But oh, they’re part of something else that will come into the story afterwards and that payoff is just wonderful.

Yeah, everything is beautifully woven together.

Plus talking about costumes, those costumes that Fransac and Manny are wearing at the beginning.

Yeah, iconic.

The trifoil hats and their jackets done up so that they’re covering their faces.

It’s on the cover of the movie.

It’s so awesome coming in.

They just look so badass.

And it’s like, yeah, the slow motion, the kind of martial arts influence.

Yeah, it’s just so great.

And the way everything ties back narratively, it’s just so, so satisfying.

It’s great.

And I like that the main character, he’s not doing the action at the beginning.

He’s more detective.

He’s putting things together.

You understand that part of his reason for being here is not only just to catch the beast, but present the beast back home to the king.

He has to taxidermy this thing.

Well, I love how Francais Grégoire de Francais is a naturalist.

He’s a scientist, right?

The reason he was a soldier, obviously, he was in Canada, as it’s explained.

Also for us, it’s a cool story connection to Canada and our history.

But he was over there doing research.

But of course, it’s like, yeah, it’s like they were colonial, the French and the English were a colonial force, so they were up against the indigenous peoples.

And that’s how we met Manny.

Manny was an indigenous person from Canada.

Iroquois, he was from the Iroquois tribe.

But yeah, it’s like the king sent a sign, didn’t send a soldier.

He was like a soldier as a secondary component, but he sent a scientist first and foremost.

Oh, that’s kind of a different take.

If it was an American making this movie, they probably want to send in the Rock or Chris Hemsworth to go blow up the beast, right?

But in Brotherhood of the Wolf, the king’s like this first thing is like, let’s go send a scientist in first to see what we can do.

And then afterwards, when the scientist doesn’t get the results, then he sends in the propagandists to just make up the beast.

So you see the political stuff is like, I like that Grégoire de Fransac was like, first and foremost, like he’s hit the thing he’s most known and respected for is his scientific mind.

And he’s obviously like, he’s a taxidermist.

He’s a biologist.

He’s a naturalist.

And then later on, you see when, spoilers, for those of you watching this for the first time, but when Manning dies and then Grégoire de Fransac goes on a rampage and you see he’s like, oh yeah, this guy can kick butt as well.

He was clearly holding back earlier.

Yeah, exactly.

I love that.

It’s just like, it’s not even that hidden because you know his background as a soldier and stuff, but seeing it on screen and you’re like, oh yeah, this guy knows how to kick some butt too.

People talk about the Daredevil hallway scene, but when Fransac goes into that house and he’s going through and just like, yeah, but he’s punching guys.

I remember the one, he hits the guy into the wall, breaks the wall and he kicks his head again and it’s already in the wall.

It’s like, oh, there’s so many hard hits in that movie.

The stunt coordination was just so, so great and that hallway scene was just like, well, not the hallway scene, but there’s a couple of scenes in the hallway where he’s working his way through the whole house where this evil cultist is set up and he’s just kicking ass and taking names, taking names, kicking ass, chewing bubble gum, all that kind of stuff.

And just like, yeah, it’s kind of these kind of revelations where it’s like, it’s almost like he’s, it tells you what the character where he’s hesitant to, like his first reaction isn’t to fight and use violence.

His first reaction is to use science, to use thought.

But then when they push him, it’s like, okay, he does have this, there’s this other part of him that he kind of keeps to the side because he doesn’t like violence, but he brings it up when he has to.

It was like, that’s a really, really thoughtful character development, right?

I love when the other characters are like first meeting him and they’re talking amongst themselves on who this guy is and they keep describing him as a libertine.

It was just like, what ramifications does that mean for like how they’re gonna treat this guy?

And it’s just like, what kind of person has come to our land here to solve this beast riddle?

Frans Sackgala.

Yeah, he’s a bit of a hedonist.

He does love the ladies.

One of the great things about this movie, I love how they set up their base of operations in a brothel.

Yeah, well, it almost comes out of nowhere at the beginning where there’s just like, they have the scene, they go on the big hunt, and then let’s go out to the brothel.

And they’re like, this is the, I think he introduced the houses, like this is gonna be one of the nicest houses in the country.

And you’re gonna get the sleep of your lifetime here.

And they open it up and it’s just a brothel through and through.

And he goes straight to the top of like the hierarchy, right, who is the courtesan he sort of attaches to is Monica Bellucci’s character.


She does a bang up job as well, because her character is not just, you know, there for his amusement.

Like she has her own agenda that is revealed later on.

And you can see that she’s doing stuff to affect the plot and the story of the film.

This is another amazing thing.

Like Sylvia in any other movie, like in a North American movie, Hollywood, she would have just been like the prostitute character who’s like, you know, sleeping with the main character and like they talk or something.

She has her own, she has her own mission and her own agenda and it comes into play later on.

And there’s these twists and it’s like, oh my God, this is amazing.

Like she was a fully fleshed out realized character.

And there’s so many payoffs in that.

And there’s so many like great scenes like interaction with the tarot cards.

And she’s kind of telling his future or when they’re like, when they’re engaged in intercourse and she pulls out the knife and everything.

And then what’s a little knife play in the bedroom?

I have the other thing to go around.

And then one of the, perhaps the single greatest scene transition of all time, where it’s Monica Bellucci lying naked on the bed and transitions like cameras kind of going up her body and changes like from her breasts into the mountains in France there.

And it’s like, just like it came out of nowhere, but like, it’s just like, yeah, all these amazing shots.

It comes out of nowhere.

It is so iconic.

It is so weird.

It really does summarize the film because it’s like, there’s no other transition like that throughout the movie.

It’s just, they just saw an opportunity and ran with it or something.

It was really, when I saw that, I think I had to pause the movie and text you.

I forgot about that transition scene.

And I was just, I could stop laughing for a couple of minutes.

Like this definitely plays a factor into why we love it back then and why it’s still.

It’s over the top and ridiculous too.

But it’s like, yeah, I think about that scene all the time.

It’s just like, yeah, just like the audacity of some of the stuff that they’re doing.

It’s crazy.

If they get away with it, I think.

I guess, like you said earlier, you could watch this movie and probably dismiss it for a lot of that sort of thing.

But I think for a two and a half hour film, it holds pretty consistently and even with it, like it’s weird elements like that, it just works for the movie.

Like it just.

It’s a thing too, is like talking about different movies.

It’s a pretty sexy movie sometimes too.

Like, with the women in there, but like the guy with the francais tux shirt off and Manny is shirtless.

Like, you guys are in pretty good shape.

Like some eye candy for everybody involved.

Or when the one prostitute screams because she’s with Manny.

And Manny, we only see him from the top up.

And he’s just, she mentions like the snakes on his body are moving or something.

He’s well tattooed.

I’m just like, yeah, it was just a, it was a nice little payoff too, because he’s a foreigner and the women don’t want to be with them.

And the one, I can’t remember who the head of a brothel is.

She like doubles the payment to whoever sleeps with them.

And you know, immediately afterwards, like she is loving every second of it.

He does the thing where he pulls the blanket off and everyone’s looking at him and his eyes kind of like light up.

It was like a bit of a humorous thing.

It was like, oh.

It’s the right amount of humor.

And Manny, I just pictured like, he’s treating these women right.

And he’s a very spiritual person.


He’s well layered.

And at first you’re thinking, they’re not gonna let him talk throughout the movie.

And he finally talks.

He only talks when he needs to say anything.

And he knows French as well.

And I think the actor also learned French for the movie as well.

I think I read it in the trivia event, like the King Fluent in French, which is like, that’s some dedication to the role.

But his character was really good, where they were talking about spirit animals.

It’s like they go on this big hunt and there’s this scene where they have an opportunity to kill this wolf and Fransac stops, I can’t remember her name, from shooting them.

And they sort of retreat back into the finish of the hunt.

And there’s just a pile of dead wolves there.

Like you can see the anguish in Manny.

It’s just like, this is a travesty.

Because both of them know it’s not just a regular wolf that’s doing this.

And we all know it.

It’s like even the science, they’re like, oh, all these wolves are like half the size based on these bite marks we have from the victims.

Like this is just a senseless slaughter.

Yeah, I got that whole scene when, because there’s one young woman, Marianne, one of the nobles who Fransac starts flirting with and they have a thing going on.

And they kind of like, you know, they’re flirting and he makes some kind of comment.

She runs off in the woods and he chases her and they find that the old Templar ruins.

And there’s the white wolf kind of on the altar there.

And Marianne is about to shoot it.

And then Grégoire de Fransac like, you know, lifts her gun up at the last minute.

And Manny says, thank you.

And then the white wolf, the white wolf is almost like their kind of spirit guide because it shows up at key points during the movie.

But like, it didn’t affect me as much that scene you’re talking about, didn’t affect me as much maybe when I was younger, but it’s like seeing the pile of dead wolves.

Like that was like something that was hard to watch.

Seeing that kind of inhumanity where like, there was a scene where they were chasing this pack of wolves and then they had them essentially surrounded in this kind of like this little valley and they were just shooting them.

And the way they shot it were like the wolves would kind of like, you could see the impact of the bullets and it would shoot their bodies up and stuff.

And then you see the pile of the wolves afterwards.

It’s really, that was really, really hard to watch.

The, you know, understanding what that means, you know, maybe a bit more.

But yeah, that scene was really, really tough to watch to see all the, just like how casually they treated wildlife there, right?

And that, I think that scene went a long way to show like the kind of disconnect that the nobility had from, you know, they didn’t, they looked at life like a commodity, right?

That could be bought or sold, or it was a resource, right?

It wasn’t sacred at all, where, you know, Manny and Fransac, you know, saw something more sacred in life, in all life, right?

Even when they, when they eventually find the beast and put it down for good, it’s like, it’s a sad moment.

It’s not a moment of triumph, right?

And the beast itself, okay, like, I don’t know if it’s just watching it in a modern day lens or the 4K-ness of it doesn’t help, but like, the CGI on that beast, and the beast is CGI quite a bit.

It’ll like, full body shots and like long shots.

It’s like, I’m glad they spent some effort to kind of hide the beast at the beginning.

You’re not seeing it.

You see little bits of it later on.

It just doesn’t seem to like, it just doesn’t look that great anymore.

Yeah, I’m gonna be honest to people, if you’re gonna watch this for the first time, the beast is best when it’s kind of cloaked in shadow, when it’s going the Jaws route, right?

When you hardly see it, when it’s cloaked in shadow, the special effects, I’m gonna say it, do not hold up.

They did not age well.

I seem to remember them, I don’t know, maybe it’s like when they’re trying to update them for the 4K release.

Maybe there was a mis-translation as well.

Didn’t look that great.

So when you’re watching this, it’s like, yeah, if I have one criticism of the movie, some of the special effects on the beast, when it’s like the wider shots and you’re seeing it move faster, and the special effects are obviously like, yeah, this is pretty rough.

That’s my only, the only criticism I would have with the movie is like, when they were talking at the beginning about, oh, we read all the special effects, like you’re saying that special message, like, okay, that’s pretty cool.

It’s like, I don’t know, man, what they were doing with the special effects.

But the closer up shots of the beast work out really well because I think most of those were animatronic.

It’s a physical thing in frame.

And they can get away with even more of that because it’s a lion, you know, the huge spoiler alert from what the beast is.

Obviously we gave our spoiler awards before, but the beast is a lion who is like covered in armor and spikes and like weaponry to like enhance itself and he’s being controlled.

Or I really want to say control.

It’s not like you brainwashed a lion.

You have this thing trained.

Yeah, they trained it like Jean-Francois, Vincent Cassel’s character, who everyone like through the whole movie is like, oh, he got his arm, one arm torn off in Africa hunting lions.

And they mentioned it like one of the first scenes.

And it turns out that the animal or the beast at the end is a lion.

They brought back a lion, and she had cubs, and they picked out like the biggest one, and they trained it to be vicious and attacked it as specific commands.

He had like this whistle or this horn.

But it turns out like he didn’t have his arm ripped off.

It was like his arm was like infected and evil.

I don’t know if it was like supposed to be a physical malady or whether it was supposed to be like dark magic or something.

I don’t care.

It was awesome.

It was pretty gnarly looking like arm and everything.

It’s like, presumably, it never recovered from, assuming a lion really did bite his arm and maybe skinned it or something.

But at one point, we see a close up of his hand, his nails are long and pointed.

He’s like, could we at least keep his nails trimmed in this?

Like, why is he having, like it’s like-

I don’t care about all the murders.

It was like, just trim your nails.

Come on, guys.


But again, it’s consistent in the over-the-top-ness that it does every so often.

Where you’re like, of course, the evil guy will have like a blatantly evil devil hand on his body.

Like that works for the movies, just like they go over the top in some other areas.

This foreshadowing is like, oh, he’s talking about how he was sent in lions and all that stuff.

And the beast ends up being a lion that he brought back.

It’s like, oh my God.

And it’s like, that’s what I’m talking about, like the end where they finally find the beast.

Like Manny finds the lair first and that’s where he’s surrounded and he’s killed.

And then Grégoire de Fransac goes in afterwards, you know, after he’s kind of dealt with the cult and he goes in and it’s like, it’s this creature, all of a sudden as it turns from this creature of terror to this creature of pity, right?

Where he’s like, oh yeah, this cult raises, they brutalized this thing.

They grafted these metal bits onto its skin.

There’s like, obviously lived a life of pain and suffering and misery.


And it was used as a tool to kill people, but when they finally kill it in its cage there, it’s almost like when it closes its eyes and it dies, it’s almost like a release or relief.

There’s a mercy that’s done to this.

This poor animal has been mistreated through its whole life.

You look at the front where like on the jaws and all the metal bits, the metal teeth that have been almost like tied or grafted to it.

And you look at it as like, what must it have been like to live like that?

It was like, yeah, it was, again, it was something unexpected that you don’t see a lot in Hollywood films these days where you have this like, you look at things from a different perspective and you see, oh yeah, this beast was being used by people.

And it’s like, oh yeah, it was suffering as well.

And like to pull that kind of 180 on the audience, like, oh yeah, that’s just, it makes you stop and think and reevaluate the rest of the, every, like the two previous hours you just watched.

It’s like thinking about that is like, oh, that puts everything in a new perspective.

Just, yeah, just love it.

Well, because I feel like I’ve seen other horror movies where it’s a monster that’s killing people.

You’re like, oh, this has to be a monster.

It ends up being like a dude in some complex suit with a certain tool, right?

And you’re thinking the same thing could happen here.

It’s a guy running on all fours or something in a giant wolf outfit with like an iron jaw, like killing people, but it’s like, no, it’s still a wild animal, like it lines, like they can’t be fully tamed.

They’re wild animals.

They could be unpredictable and everything.

It’s just like, I’m glad they stuck with that route and made it even more tragic in the exact ways you just described in how it’s lived its life and like how it’s been outfitted with the stuff.

They certainly didn’t make it appear as like you can’t just like remove these things off his body easily like he’s living this like this is him now and it’s pretty gnarly.

All those kind of back spikes coming off of everything.

They look like they were like they must have sewn it to his skin or something or his muscles.

Like it was just it’s really when you think about it is really horrific what they did to him.

And how terrifying that would be for the victims.

It’s just like a lot of them have seen wolves and wolves are not necessarily they even say like wolves don’t necessarily attack people in the France countryside here.

And then seeing this thing turn them at your door like three times the size of a wolf.

Emboldened with all of this iron works around it.

It’s like yeah this thing is from your worst nightmares.

And during that time frame too where you wouldn’t have the necessarily a lot more context of like the possibilities about this thing is people were fooled by a taxidermied fish with fur on it.

You imagine a lion with this exoskeleton on it.

Of course they’re going to think it’s a demon, right?


Yeah, exactly.

Again, that’s set up and payout.

It was all perfectly foreshadowed.

It was a beast that was created by human beings.

It was not something supernatural.

It’s like what a great kind of spin, right?

It’s like, okay, all the supernatural elements were kind of explained.


Even like Gregor de Fransac, when he comes back to the countryside, the other dude that the king sent in, caught this wolf, told Fransac to make it look like the beast.

So he does taxidermy work on it, builds it up to make it look like this.

It was crazy, like black and red giant wolf creature.

But then he gets called back.

He has a falling out with Marianne because Jean Francois, her brother, gets in the way and screws up the relationship.

But then she wants to see him again.

It’s like, okay, there’s all these layers.

He goes back, gets thrown in prison because he wasn’t supposed to go back to that province.

And then Sylvia comes, gives him this poison that essentially, it’s like it’s a movie trope now, right?

Where you have some kind of poison that makes it look like you’re dead.


But he literally, that idea, the concept of death and rebirth, where to break him out of prison, she makes it look like he’s dead, they bury him.

And then she’s part of some, she’s Italian, and she’s part of some Italian super secret organization going around, I think fighting off revolutionaries and fighting this cult specifically, but they dig him up and he comes back for that final confrontation with Jean-Francois.

Just like the Pope has an exorcist that goes around expelling demons out of people, the Pope would have a beast-hunting squad as well.

Beast squad.

Hidden amongst its civilians all over the world.

Yeah, we need the sequel with Monica Bellucci back, Beast Squad.

Sequel to Brotherhood of the Wolf, amazing.

I mean, there’s the, I mean, you mentioned Jean-Francois and his sister, there’s the weird incestuous angle there near the end, where it’s just like-

He’s doing this, and it was just like, my goodness.

We see the reason he broke up from Sac and Marianne was not because he was trying to protect his sister, but because he had sexual feelings for his own sister, which I think there was a confession scene where he was in turmoil over this.

I was like, yeah, the guy was a villain through and through.

He was the one controlling the beast directly.

He had the horn.

As the movie progressed, you started to see this figure in the distance using the horn to control the beast and it turned out to be Jean-Francois.

There was no redeeming quality left at the end.

He was just a villain through and through, which was also nice to see.

He was like, okay, he’s a bad guy and he’s clearly a bad guy.

And then he’s dispatched at a fight, a one-on-one fight.

And he has maybe one of the more over the top elements of the movie is this extendable bonesword, which I totally forgot about until I’m watching this film.

And I’m like, that bonesword, it can’t function like it does, can it?

He’s using it sort of as a whip around and he’s just like, it turns solid when it comes back together.

It’s amazing.

It’s one of my favorite on-screen weapons.

It’s up there with the lightsaber for me.

None of those weapons make sense.

That’s one of the elements you kind of have to go with the flow, right?

It’s like, you’re either along for the ride or you’re not.

If you don’t like the bonesword scene, then you’re probably not going to like the rest of the movie.

It’s like…

It happens near the end of the film, obviously.

So if you’ve gone that far and you’re enjoying what you’re seeing, the bonesword is a nice payoff for the mix-up of the fight scenes.

Which he uses with his evil, deformed hand with the gross fingernails.

His unkept fingernails.


But I guess, yeah, now that you say that, there were no supernatural elements at play.

So like, yeah, his hands or his arm kind of got mauled.

Maybe he was ashamed of that.


He didn’t want to show people.

So he kept it hidden.

He’d rather, I don’t know, it was a whole weird thing, but wasn’t, yeah, he wasn’t possessed.

It wasn’t evil.


And I think about it, there was no supernatural elements at all.

That was kind of cool.

And also, it like, you know, he’s a little more iconic.

He’s a dude of one hand and he has a gun specially made to like brace his one arm.

It has like this thing that curls around and he’s a sharpshooter with this gun.

Presumably, you know, the majority of people are right-handed and he’s shooting with his left hand.

Maybe he was left-handed anyways, but it’s still impressive that he’s like, I mean, he’s killing these wolves and stuff with like precision and without really thinking about it too much.

The guy had some serious skill and he was just hiding that bone sword the entire time in all those fencing skills.

Yeah, that was great.

I love the one that the cloak comes off and it’s just kind of strapped to the front of him there.


So, so great.

And Grigore de Fransac, he’s got like the face paint on and stuff, I guess kind of in homage to Manny.


That kind of thing.

And he’s got like the two knives and he goes down there and he’s doing some more slo-mo fighting with some of the guys and just like just devastating those cultists.

And then they have that.

The cultists had no chance.


They did not know who they’re up against when they were fighting Fransac and Manny really.

They were, it was a different league, I guess, we’ll get Manny and Fransac were actual veterans who had gone and actual fought on the front lines, been involved in these conflicts.

And get the sense a lot of these cultists were just like, like almost like cosplayers or LARPers at home was like, yeah, we’re going to pick up some weapons and like, no, these guys are actual veterans who have seen combat is like, they’re going to, they’re going to mess you up.


Well, exactly.

Well, I mean, they sort of tell the story of Manny where he’s the only surviving member of the tribe.

And oh my goodness, why am I blanking out his name there?

Grégoire de Fransac?


Like his, like his military unit was responsible for killing Manny’s tribe and Manny was the only survivor.

And I think they had a bond out of that and he learned a lot of his techniques from Manny as well.

And there’s another scene I want to point out where the king has them back, where they create like the fake wolf monster, which looked at first glance and be like, is that the wolf from American Werewolf in London?

Like I want to see some similarities.

But they’re basically sending them to Africa.

And I’m thinking, I really want to see these two guys go to Africa on another adventure.

And it’s like, I want to see these guys go around the world and hunt mythical beasts.

Like if this was a North American production, they probably, we might have a whole series of movies or TV seasons, but they would have ended it there and it’s like, yeah, the next one would have been like, yeah, Africa, Sisterhood of the Lion, I guess.

Oh my goodness.

What else?

What else you want to talk about for this film?

Any, anything else that stands out to you there?

I think we’ve covered kind of most of this, right?

We talked about the overall story and just how there’s so many kind of twists and turns and like, it feels like from my point of view, there’s like four or five different movies.

You get like so much bang for your buck.

It feels like all these stories are so expertly interwoven.

You know, even I think we kind of glossed over a little bit that love story between Frosac and Marianne, but that gets kind of fully fleshed out as well.

Every little kind of minor character that’s introduced has their own little mini arc in this movie.

The idea of set up and payoff, right?

There’s no insignificant background character for the most part, right?

Almost every character on screen you see is like, they show up again in the later scene and it provides additional context to what was going on, right?

All the detective work about, you know, early on in the movie, Frosac finds a bit of metal in one of the victims.

Yeah, yeah.

And they’re talking about, oh, a beast of flesh and metal and it’s like, what does this mean?

And you see at the end, it all pays, they were thinking the whole way through, right?

So many little touches like that when the militia was hunting the beast and they’re like, there’s a dead body and they put poison in the dead body because they thought the beast might come back and, you know, eat the victim.

But you see, after they mention that, you look around when Frosac goes down to examine the body, there’s a bunch of dead crows around because the crows are coming and it’s like, there was so much thought put into all this, right?

That’s a detail that I feel like would have been missed in other productions.

It’s just like, oh, we poisoned the body, like be careful.

And the body would just be, I mean, the body, like the effects worked there was really gnarly because they don’t really show like the guts, like the evisceration very much until the final shot.

When it pulls up there, oh yeah, the scene, you’re like, oh my goodness, like that was a huge, it was so gross.

And then you see all the birds, you’re like, oh yeah, this is a perfect example of just like these birds make sense, like even like grabs a bird and just like tosses it aside.

Really nice details.

Like that’s the thing, like every shot seems like it’s really well thought out, like the way it’s shot, like just the camera work itself, the focus, the angles.

I don’t know how else to articulate it, but it’s like the details in the shots like that, the birds, like every set design is gorgeous and like their costumes are great.

You’re talking about Marianne there and she’s going out on the hunt as well.

There is some good chemistry between her and the main main character right there.


I keep stalling on his name there.

I must have read it like 400 times last night watching the movie.

It’s just like, well, they keep referring to him as Knight all the time as well.


But yeah, this movie was just fired on all cylinders and I don’t know if it was just the, again, the right movie at the right time.

I was a little nervous going into it because I hadn’t seen it in over probably a dozen years.

We probably watched it many times back then, you know, many years ago and going back to it, because it’s kind of scary, maybe we talk about this sometimes, you fall in love with a movie and then you don’t watch it for a while and you realize it wasn’t maybe that great and I’m watching this and I’m getting even more out of it than I think I did back then.


It was awesome.

What I love too is like kind of the end when the older, was it the Thomas Daccha, who is the, you know, he’s one of the minor, is it minor noble or is he like the main kind of the main noble there, but he’s just younger, but he’s the gentleman at the end who is, you know, telling the story as the, you know, he’s a, he’s a noble, obviously during the French Revolution.

So they got the mobs below his kind of castle, you know, demanding he become, he be sent out for obviously for, as we know, for mob justice.

And he’s kind of writing these memoirs as the last, you know, his last act, he’s remembering the story and writing it down.

And so there’s almost this idea of this whole story is there’s a bit of mythologizing, right?

Where he’s hit the end of the story is like, oh yeah, you know, Marianne was, was, she was attacked, she was sick and she wasn’t waking up.

And they gave her like, there was this, there’s medicine from this bracelet that Manny always had.

But then he talks about how, you know, Fransac and Marianne, it’s like, I never saw them again, but they went off and I imagine that they had these great adventures together.

I want to imagine that they had like, I imagine their adventures when they were traveling the world together.

It’s like the whole thing is set up as like this mythological epic story with the heroes kind of literally, you know, after the tragedy and the pain they suffered kind of, you know, going through all that and kind of riding off into the sunset almost.

And it was, everything on this was just, yeah, the storytelling, the characters, the acting, just amazing.

So, we always give our ratings for these movies we talk about.

We use the five-star scale with a possible like on top of that.

Are you ready to give a five-star rating on this movie or do you have anything else to talk about first?

No, I think we’ve pretty much covered it.


What’s your rating?

One out of five.

One out of five.

It’s an easy five out of five for me and debating giving it the like as well, the extra like.

I think I might go back and give it the like.

We debated.

Just do it.


Five stars on Letterboxd plus the like.

So essentially I’m giving this a six out of five.

That’s basically what it means, right?


How about you, Brian?

I’m giving it four and a half stars and also the like bonus.

So it was no question for me when I was filling out my little form on Letterboxd.

This is definitely getting the like.

I was a little not sure on the rating itself because I still recognize, I don’t really want to say anything negative.

Obviously we talked about the CGI aging a little bit.

Maybe the two and a half hour runtime was a bit too long, but I’m not sure it was.

I think it was just late enough at night that I felt myself like the Sandman was coming around and wanted my attention.

You know what I mean?

I was just like, I didn’t have much time left in me last night when I was watching this, but I still stayed awake for the whole thing.

The runtime feels appropriately decadent considering the period of time they’re in is like, you know what?

After every, there were some reveals and some twists like, yeah, I want more and I want more and I want more.

And the movie’s like, you got it, here’s more and here’s some more of that and here’s some more of this and here’s some more of that.

Because honestly, there’s like, I think an hour 40 in and it’s like, The Beast is like taking out a commission, like things seem like they could be wrapping up here, but there’s more to go on.

There’s more layers to peel back.

I mean, there’s still things you didn’t even know you’re watching they got to address.

And it feels so satisfied when they do.

All around a great, great movie.

If you’re looking to expand your horizons and watch some more non-English speaking films, I know for me, one of the ones I recommend with the caveat that we talked about before, this movie is not for everybody.

But if you’re looking to expand your horizons, give Brotherhood of the Wolf a try, especially for fellow English speaking audiences looking to maybe diversify and get some like, you know, foreign language films in there.

Definitely check out Brotherhood of the Wolf.

Some of you will be pleasantly surprised.

Some of you will wonder about our sanity.

Either way, it’s worth checking out.

Give it a shot.

And that’s a wrap on another episode.

As always, we appreciate you hanging out with us today and taking the time to listen to our podcast.

You can find us online over at where we have not just a repository of podcast episodes but many of our written reviews as well.

If you’re up to it, you can follow us on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram as well.

All the links should be within the show notes here.

So until next time, take care of yourself and others and be sure to enjoy your film journey.