While the previously available American dvd release of "BROTHERHOOD OF THE WOLF" was quite good, fans were annoyed that it didn't offer the slightly longer(152 minutes vs 144 minutes)version released in Europe. UNIVERSAL has finally released this longer cut, and while it's still not on par with the foreign release in some areas, it's a worthy addition to any film-lover's library and improved upon over the previous American release.
Taking place just before the French Revolution, 1765, this epic film blends supernatural mystery with great drama, politics, sexuality and martial arts, culminating in a unique, visionary, often breath-taking film! By adding fiction to some factual mystery, the plot revolves around the "Beast of Gevaudan," something responsible for killing or maiming a large number of people, and which came as an embarrassment to King Louis XV, making people question his ability to protect his own people. A naturalist is dispatched to find the creature and either capture or kill it. Of course, more mystery and intrigue follow, some of which, is never fully developed, but entertaining all the same. Monica Bellucci's mysterious, sexy character is never fully explained, but one can't imagine the film without her, after seeing it, even with her part still remaining so small in the director's cut.
For a film running over 2 1/2 hours, "BROTHERHOOD OF THE WOLF" is never slow. Beautifully shot, well-paced, tightly written and well acted, even those viewers whom might typically avert foreign films, will grow to like this one, if given a chance. Of course, an English-dubbed version(without subtitles option)is included, but the dubbing is adequate, at best, and one really will miss something if not choosing the original language version.
UNIVERSAL has provided the correct 2.35:1 aspect ratio for this 16:9 enhanced release. Colors are solid throughout. Contrast is impressive, with decent blacks and grays in darker scenes, for fine detail. Some grain pops up throughout, but it doesn't diminish from the overall beauty of the transfer.
UNIVERSAL has provided a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix. Unfortunately, the DTS mix offered on some foreign version of the director's cut, isn't here. Still, the mix is aggressive, particularly during fight sequences, wherein creative sound editing adds much to the film's hypnotic atmosphere.
There are extensive extras offered on this 2 disc release! Deleted scenes, with commentary, run over 30 minutes! Two great documentaries, delving into the film's production, are offered. Also, an interesting "LEGEND," interviews the naturalist, whose book, served as the source material inspiration for the film.