Set in the 18th century, this elegantly grisly action adventure concerns the legendary beast of Gevaudan and its relationship to the French Revolution. An epic melodrama, a decadent thriller, and a sumptuous showcase for action choreography and special effects, the movie follows a shaman and a naturalist as they track a killer that may be lupine, human, supernatural, or some combination thereof, pausing every so often to visit a brothel, fall in love, have a vision, or trounce an enemy. In addition to inscrutable femme fatales and artfully naked and dead women, there’s also a fully clothed heroine whose valor doesn’t stop her from being as vulnerable as the bravest of the men. Director Christophe Gans has said the movie is about “how people with progressive ideas run up against the old demons of fundamentalism, racism, and reactionary violence,” a theme that should “emerge naturally from the action.” And that’s the beauty of this 146-minute feature: it provides glorious escapism without asking you to turn your brain off. Written by Stephane Cabel; with Samuel Le Bihan, Mark Dacascos, and Emilie Dequenne. In French with subtitles.