REVIEW

Loosely based on true events, the film film directed by
Christophe Gans (who recently directed SILENT HILL) wowed French audiences when released in 2001.  Not only is it simply beautiful to watch (thanks to the sumptuous cinematography by John Woo collaborator Philip Kwok and art direction by Guy-Claude Francois), but it has an element for everyone to enjoy.  To categorize it would be difficult.  It is part period costume drama, part horror film with a dash of a good thriller, a sprinkle of romance and just enough high action martial arts film. Surprisingly all of those genres work well together and the result is absolutely brilliant.

The fight scenes are truly a pleasure to watch and are choreographed by Hong Kong movie veteran Phillip Kwok who has done films like HARD-BOILED and TOMORROW NEVER DIES.  There is a grace to the action sequences and they are edited to perfection by Sebastien Prangere and David Wu Dai-wai.  The soundtrack only adds to the film not only giving it an eerie beauty, but a sense of foreboding when needed. I do recommend however watching the film in the native French with or without subtitles as the dubbing is of poor quality and cuts many lines that deal with vital information.

The cast is strong with a mix of veterans and up and coming talent. I particularly loved Vincent Cassel who played the crippled brother to Marianne.  Mark Dacascos steals the screen whenever Mani  is on the screen and a woman like me can find no fault in him wearing a loincloth for part of the film.  Monica Bellucci's Sylvia is not only a seductress, but so much more. In a world where women had little more than their wits to protect them, she is the most dangerous of all and far more than she first appears. For most of the movie you are unsure if she is going to help or hinder the heroes, she is always mysterious and captivating.

Sometimes a horror movie can live or die by the creature.  In this case there is never a chance to get a good look at the animal which allows the watcher to fill in the details.  The film's narrative maintains a strong ambiguity over the nature of the beast until the very end.

I adore this film.  The deranged mix of Hong Kong action and Gothic imagery make this one of the most original and fascinating films you are likely to see.  But you probably already know that.

 
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In 18th century France, a brave young naturalist (Samuel Le Bihan) and his Native American companion (Mark Dacascos) are hired to trace the origins of a bloodthirsty 'beast' which has been terrorizing the French countryside, killing women and children. But their investigations uncover an appalling conspiracy which cuts to the very heart of French high society... (more)

 

 

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 Thank you to Google Images and Gypsie Moon for their great images of the film. Of course thank you to Christophe Gans for directing such a beautiful film and to all of those that were involved in the making of the film.  Not one to forget everybody go give the fanlistings a big old hug for being so ingenious and great.  Copyright 2006. Le Pacte is for entertainment only.