The Empire of the Wolves

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German title The Empire of the Wolves
Original title L'Empire des loups
Country of production France
original language French
Publishing year 2005
length 123 minutes
Age rating FSK 16
JMK 16
Director Chris Nahon
script Chris Nahon,
Christian Clavier ,
Franck Ollivier
production Patrice Ledoux
camera Michel Abramowicz
cut Marco Cavé

Empire of the Wolves is a thriller from the year 2005 , which on the eponymous novel by Jean-Christophe Grangé based. It is the second film adaptation of a Grangé work with Jean Reno in the lead role , after Die purple rivers .


The young Anna Heymes cannot remember her past and in stressful situations even no longer recognizes her husband Laurent, an officer of the French secret service. The doctors want to find out the cause of the disease with the help of scans and a biopsy . Anna defends herself against this and consults the psychiatrist Mathilde Urano. Anna slowly begins to suspect that she is not who she thinks she is. When she discovers scars from plastic surgery on her face, she flees in confusion and fear, pursued by her husband and his men. With the help of the psychiatrist, Anna kidnaps the responsible doctor Dr. Ackerman. He tells the two women that a new method of memory manipulation was tested on Anna on behalf of the secret service. Together they go to the institute to restore Anna's memory. After this is successful, the women are attacked by their persecutors. Anna can easily overwhelm her. Anna and Mathilde then flee in a car, while Anna tells who she really is.

At the same time, the third victim of a serial killer is found in a Turkish quarter of Paris . The chief policeman Paul Nerteaux reactivates the policeman Schiffer, who has been prematurely retired because of his brutal investigative methods. Nerteaux explains to Schiffer that the killer is targeting red-haired women who have immigrated illegally from Turkey. Together they want to question the district's gang boss. They get caught in an assassination attempt by a killer squad. Nerteaux and Schiffer narrowly escape this. Schiffer recognizes the actions of the Gray Wolves in the execution of the assassination and warns the young colleague against further investigations. He withdraws himself.

Nevertheless, Nerteaux continues to investigate and after further clues comes to the conclusion that the Gray Wolves are behind the series of murders. They are actually looking for a very specific woman. Nerteaux realizes that this target must have changed their face. So he pays a visit to a doctor who is eligible for this operation. During the interview, the doctor is murdered by a killer. In the ensuing fight, Nerteaux is able to put the assassin to flight. While investigating the crime scene, he finds a gold pendant, like the one Schiffer wears.

Anna tells Mathilde that she is a member of the Gray Wolves, but cheated on the organization and went into hiding with 20 kilograms of heroin . Therefore, a bounty was placed on her and she was forced to have her face sculptured. When Anna tries to get the hidden drugs in a cemetery, she is surprised by Schiffer, which ends in a shootout. In the meantime Nerteaux has also arrived, followed by the skipper. In pursuit of Anna, the two men climb a spiral staircase, triggering an explosive charge hidden by Anna. While Nerteaux can save himself, Schiffer falls down the stairs. Anna can escape.

The police chief then declares the case closed and Schiffer dead. However, Paul Nerteaux continues to investigate on his own and comes across the trail of the killer Azer Zeki. Nerteaux clings to his heels and follows him to a rock city near Istanbul . There Azer picks him up and leads him to a temple. A little later he is confronted with a Gray Wolf leader named Kudseyi. A little later, the boatman who was believed dead appears with the captured Anna. Anna is tried and she is sentenced to death. When Kudseyi tries to kill her, Anna takes a weapon hidden in her hair and stabs the guide. Azer then overwhelms the woman and flees the temple. After Nerteaux and Schiffer overpower Azer's men, they pursue Anna. In the meantime the French secret service has arrived and takes the rock city.

Meanwhile, Schiffer explains to Nerteaux that he is working with the secret service and that Anna has offered a deal. When the two policemen finally find Azer, he is in the process of mutilating Anna's face. In the subsequent exchange of fire, Nerteaux shoots the man. Anna survives seriously injured.


The film was produced by Gaumont with a budget of almost 24 million euros. The film was shot in Paris , Istanbul and the Turkish mountain village of Uçhisar .

Filming in Turkey turned out to be difficult. The script had to be rewritten in places to get permission to shoot. Existing film material became unusable. The director was exposed to enormous political pressure.


"Chris Nahon's adaptation of the novel by Jean-Christophe Grangé is a very exciting and action-packed, but sometimes somewhat brutal thriller, which lives above all from numerous psychological and creative contrasts."


“Nonetheless, it is worth seeing not only because of Jean Reno's great acting performance, but also because of the visual ideas, if you have come to terms with the weakness of the author Grangé for the conclusion of his plot. "The Empire of the Wolves" disappoints here and leaves it with entertaining instead of two hours of thrilling action to the end. "

"Since the resounding success of" Die purple rivers ", Jean-Christophe Grangé has been one of the hottest source of templates. His worlds are drafts of a beguilingly dangerous fantasy, always close to reality. [...] Director Chris Nahon, brilliant and full of energy like in "Kiss of the Dragon", shocks with high tension in unforgettable floods of images. "

“For us that means a brutal two-hour chase through horrific rainy backdrops and nebulous story paths that culminates in a wonderfully brain-cracked showdown. Conclusion: Testosterone-soaked video clip action in stylish gloomy backdrops - a lot of fun, but it's fun! "

“It starts promisingly in Paris in the constant gloomy rain, but until the end the long action thriller turns completely off. It may be due to the author Jean-Christophe Grangé ("The purple rivers") and his novel [...] that too much was packed into the plot: amnesia, conspiracy, drugs, mafia, horror, terror (September 11th! ), Fanaticism. Enough for three films, too much for one. "

"At the beginning it is a captivating, but over-constructed and increasingly confused action thriller that gives away the interesting aspects of its story in favor of an indigestible genre mix."

"The Empire of the Wolves" by Chris Nahon rushes through the set pieces of the thriller, horror and action genres like his protagonist on the run from the drug search through rainy Paris. At every intersection, the script takes a completely new turn and hurls a little elegantly over numerous potholes in the narrative logic. "

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Release certificate for The Empire of the Wolves . Voluntary self-regulation of the film industry , August 2005 (PDF; test number: 103 273 K).
  2. Age rating for The Empire of the Wolves . Youth Media Commission .
  4. IMDb locations
  5. This paragraph is supported by
  6. Criticism on
  7. ^ Criticism from
  8. Film review on
  9. film review on
  10. ^ Film review on
  11. The Empire of Wolves. In: Lexicon of International Films . Film service , accessed March 2, 2017 .Template: LdiF / Maintenance / Access used 
  12. Film review on