Christophe Gans’ “Brotherhood of the Wolf” is a movie that so cleverly convinces the viewer that its intentions are on the higher end of the intellectual spectrum that I unwillingly believed in its seriousness, for a while. The truth is that all the history, politics and other tensions aside, this is a were-wolf movie ? the rest is just coating. Being aware of this fact does not however take away from the experience.

If nothing else, “Brotherhood of the Wolf” is a great looking movie. Cinematically, it is somewhere between “Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon” and “Sleepy Hollow,” but on a grander scale than these two films, restlessly stimulating the viewer’s imagination with every scene.

Much in this film is done solely for style and requires a considerable suspension of disbelief. Despite the fact that the action takes place in Gevaudan, a remote county in France, everyone seems to fight in a style that is at the very least inspired by Asian martial arts.

Nudity in “Brotherhood of the Wolf” is as gratuitous, as it is also very well filmed and in no way distracting from the overall experience. The creature itself is perhaps the only aspect of the film that is distracting. It looks quite silly and incredible. Even that however, is explained by events that are consistent with the movie’s logic.

On the downside, “Brotherhood of the Wolf” is at times dull and on the whole feels longer than it actually is, with some stretches resembling a lush, beautiful wallpaper, but no more.

Marc Dacascos seems credible in an important role. The film also stars Samuel Le Bihan, Vincent Cassel, Monica Bellucci and Emilie Dequenne, who are all appropriately cast based at least on their physical characteristics, particularly Dequenne, whose pale, round face with fine, delicate features is perfectly suited for portraying a wellborn French girl in the 1700s.

Overall, the movie is very entertaining, leaving the viewer reeling in the wake of its fantasy world, long after he or she has left the theater. Though it has its dull moments, this is one foreign film that we are lucky to get to see in American theatres.

“Slackers”

“Slackers,” directed by Dewey Nicks ups the ante in the teen gross-out comedy genre. The film is presented in a pseudo-original style where connections between scenes are of indistinct character at best, purely for stylistic reasons. Despite being decidedly uninspired and device driven, “Slackers” is funny?not worth your eight dollars, but funny. James King, Devon Sawa and Jason Schwartzman are all capable comic actors, but above all? what film would not be vindicated by a talking penis sock puppet?

Bavli can be reached at mbavli@campustimes.org



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