Movies for Gamers #10: Brotherhood of the Wolf

This is part of a series of reviews of movies particularly interesting or inspiring for role playing. Because of their setting, style, characters, editing or story. Read the introduction here or here if you are new to this series.

A fantasy movie set in historic France, in 1766? Yes. And it's based on historic fact too. Just based on, because it takes a few leaps from there. Horrific leaps. Martial arts leaps. Special effects leaps. Conspiracy leaps. Brotherhood of the Wolf combines many genres.

Director Christophe Gans, who also did Crying Freeman made it an impressive, atmospheric, and somehwat episodic movie. A movie about the legendary beasts of Gevaudan.

The beasts of Gevaudan in real life terrorized part of France during the reign of Louis XV, and assaulted and killed maybe as many as twohundred people. They may have been wolves. Or some sort of crossbreeds. It's still a mysterry and legend. Alive legend, I found out on my latest holiday in France. At several places where we stayed and ate, there were pictures of the beast. It was kind of scary. Like a werewolf that was never caught for sure. It made sleeping in a tent... different.

The film follows Fronsac, the royal taxidermist of king Louis XV. He is supposed to find the monster, and capture or kill it. Martial arts dancer Mark Dacascos, who was the lead in Crying Freeman now is his Native American Iroquis aide: Mani. Together they proceed on a path that becomes more and more twisted and misty. And they find out about a curse and a conspiracy...

Monica Belluci is in the movie too, as a mysterious character fit for player character status. She is much more than a courtesan. See for yourself and think about the wonderful implications. Belluci's real life husband Vincent Cassel also plays a role, with one arm bitten off by a lion in Africa.

The strong thing of this movie is, that you get an impression how to combine history and fantasy into an exciting mix. Eighteenth century history, at that. With flintlock guns, new found science, printing press, colonies in the west, martial arts of the east, American Natives. And a monstrous beast in an otherwise normal country. It shows that mystery can be stronger than loads of new zany creatures and treasure. You can use that knowledge in your games too.

The film was so inspiring to a few friends that they decided to do the story as an adventure. The idea was perfect. Except that they should have left the storyline and let us be the heroes. What they did instead was trying to make us fit the movie script, and take away our choices as players. I wish they'd try again and just use the backdrop. The feeling is so strong and rich. It would still work.

But then again, now I've seen the movie. Oh well. They can change the story a bit. I won't mind. I just want to feel the rush of this setting again!

No comments:

Post a Comment