Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Le Pacte de Loups - Pact of the Wolves

2001 by Christophe Gans

18th Century France saw around 100 people being killed by a beast, infamous as the beast of Gevaudan. Witness accounts described the beast as a creature resembling a large wolf and modern day investigators think it could have been an Asian Hyena.

Christophe Gans have taken the beast and placed it amongst real life characters, making it into an excellent fantasy story, wherein, the beast, the villagers, the royal hypocrisy and genuine heroes co exist in a world of super natural beliefs. This indeed, has produced, may be, the best fantasy thriller. To know that most of the characters in this movie lived for real, make me appreciate this movie even better. Curious about the deaths, King sends his Knight to the region, to investigate. The Knight, followed by his native American friend, tries to understand the killings and what unfolds is a brilliant suspense thriller. I cannot remember any other fantasy movie filled with this kind of suspense and thrill.

The script is excellent and in fact it does give some pointers to the secret, which we will not notice at all. Once the truth is really close, only then would we realise, oh yes, they did hint on this. To find this kind of a cause for the puzzle behind the beast, itself deserves credit. The same is also true about certain characters like Mani, the American, who seems to be cent percent fictitious and Sylvia, the travelling Italian courtesan. Towards the end we realise that she seemed to be the only person who had some clue about what was happening, thanks to her contacts at the very popular local brothel. I also loved how the whole story was juxtaposed with the French revolution period. The narrator of the story, the only living person who knew the whole happenings, is writing out the truth for history, before he is taken for execution by the revolutionaries.

The director has done a brilliant job, ably supported by each and every department in his team. In fact, he has made sure that the CG and Animatronics use is kept to the minimum possible. It is still a piece of movie, unlike most Hollywood flicks in which 75% of the movie is CG. I must also specifically mention the editor here. Wonderful job.

The only one thing I really didnt like was the looks of the beast, which seems to be inspired by modern day fantasies, sadly.

Otherwise, this is a brilliant thriller, on the fantasy front. Or should I say fantasy mixed reality. I really wish, my fellow Indians, who always are so upbeat about average Hollywood fantasies, watch this movie. This is so much a thrilling experience.

This movie is titled in English as the Brotherhood of the Wolf.