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At-A-Glance Film Reviews

Brotherhood of the Wolf (2001)



Reviews and Comments

This is one weird cookie. It's pretty much, as Roger Ebert put it, a werewolf movie without a werewolf. But that doesn't quite capture the essence of it either, because it doesn't suggest the level of artsy baggage strapped to the film's proverbial back.

The film is visually stylish, and there are some fight scenes that look like The Matrix transposed into 18th century France. The battle choreography is great, and it's not a problem that I doubt anybody in 18th century France fought like this. But that's about all the good I can say for it. The biggest problem is that it plays with the assumption that the audience has an emotional investment in the characters. But the characters are well nigh impossible to relate to. How can a movie reach 142 minutes long and failed to establish at least one actual person? But between fight scenes, and particularly at the end, are the longest drawn-out scenes of weepy orchestration and somber close-ups while characters suffer strong but ambiguous emotions, and we are supposed to care instead of looking at our watches.

This film is noteworthy for its striking visuals, but as a work of storytelling it's a strike-out.