I watched this again and totally loved it all over again. A highly entertaining French period thriller, to me Brotherhood of the Wolf (2001) has shades of Sleepy Hollow (1999) though rawer, that sort of deliciously dark mystery written in a rich and interesting historical setting. This one features swash buckling fight scenes and even martial arts scenes by one of it’s primary characters, the Native American Mani, played by American action star Mark Dacascos.
Wikipedia describes the beginning of the plot as follows (the entry there describes the entire plot and so contains spoilers, so you might not want to click the link if you haven’t seen the film.):
The film begins during the French Revolution with the aged Marquis d’Apcher as the narrator, writing his memoirs in a castle, while the voices of a mob can be heard from outside. The film flashes back to 1764 when a mysterious beast terrorized the province of Gévaudan and nearby lands.
Grégoire de Fronsac, a knight and the royal taxidermist of King Louis XV of France, and his Iroquois companion Mani, arrive in Gévaudan to capture the beast. Upon arrival, they rescue Jean Chastel, an aged healer, and his daughter, La Bavarde, from an attack by soldiers. The young and enlightened Thomas, Marquis d’Apcher, befriends them.
Fronsac is initially skeptical about the beast’s existence, since survivors describe it as much larger than any wolf he has ever seen. However, by studying the bite size on a victim of the beast, he deduces that it must weigh roughly 500 lb (227 kg). Captain Duhamel, an army officer leading the hunt for the beast, has killed dozens of ordinary wolves, but has not come close to the actual killer. While staying in Gévaudan, Fronsac romances Marianne de Morangias, the daughter of a local count, whose brother, Jean-François, was also an avid hunter and a world traveler, before losing one arm to a lion in Africa. Fronsac is also intrigued by Sylvia, an Italian courtesan at the local brothel.
Sultry and charismatic Italian actress Monica Belluci plays Sylvia, and is the main reason I picked up the DVD years ago. Her French husband, the inexplicably but smolderingly sexy Vincent Cassel, is also in this movie, as Jean-François.