reviews

review: Le Pacte des Loups

So, to celebrate the end of the school year, my French class watched Le Pacte des Loups. It’s in French, it’s got werewolves or something, and we figured it would be way more fun than watching Le Misanthrope.

The thing about this move is that it’s really funny. It’s just not supposed to be funny. You see, at the start of the movie there’s this big wolf-thing that’s been killing off the peasants in some apparently remote corner of France. So King Louis the something-or-other sends in his taxidermist (or something like that) to stuff the thing once it’s been killed, so he can have it on display as a symbol of his sovereignty.

Our introduction to this taxidermist (before we know who or what he is) is him beating up a bunch of guys who were beating up an old guy beside the road. And looking pretty cool while he does it.

Oh, and it’s raining at the time. It does that a lot throughout the movie.

Did I mention that he’s got this Indian following him around who’s the last of his tribe, speaks perfect French, has wicked fighting skills, and some weird connection with this crazy girl who keeps showing up for no apparent reason? Yeah. It’s one of those films. (And if you ask me to elaborate, all you’ll get is a ‘you know’ in response.) Basically, it tries too hard. And the cinematographer was having way too much fun. Watch five minutes and you’ll see what I mean.

The basic, basic plot reminds me a bit of Van Hellsing – there’s some supernatural (or apparently supernatural) thing that’s terrorizing the populace, so some hunter/guy with other crazy skills gets sent to deal with it. There’s a mysterious woman with black hair (and that’s all I’m saying on the subject). And the Church is portrayed in a less-than positive light.

But the thing is, Van Hellsing is a monster movie. It knows this. For the most part it’s happy to be one. So there’s banter and tongue-in-cheek, and the occasional jab at the conventions of the genre. There’s no pretension about it. Le Pacte des Loups has none of these things. Instead, it has symbolism. Lots of it. The ‘noble’ wolves are killed off by the rather beastly humans, and so on. And so it’s two and a half very long hours of people beating their heads against a brick wall. Of course, Van Hellsing also has moments where it tries to be all deep and meaningful, and instead comes off as mostly hokey, but that’s par for course, and it’s not the majority of the movie.

In the end, Le Pacte des Loups is one of the movies where you end up laughing at all the horrible things happening to the characters, either because they’re so clichéd or so over the top that there’s no other possible reaction. Except to stop watching the movie. (Van Hellsing, on the other hand, has Carl, and that makes up for very nearly anything.)

To conclude? I wish we’d watched Le Misanthrope. Although I probably wouldn’t have laughed as much.

(Oh, and rose_sous_globe? It was pretty much everyone except the marquise and his grandfather and Marianne.)