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Movie Review: Brothers

Prinz Lee image

Prinz Lee wrote this review 6 years and 3 months ago

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Written 12/04/09

Usually films never really quite display or turn out as intense or interesting as their trailers do, but this one does. In every way and beyond and not only does it set a tone, but if you think what you see in this one says it all and you might think it’s predictable, think again, my friend, because you’re wrong.

I personally think the art of dramatized experiences has been smeared all over theaters this weekend. From levels of regrets and smiles of hopes from a simple family, to the outbursts of hate and vile acts upon man-kind at the hands of Taliban soldiers across the globe, “Brothers” serves as a modern-day sample of life’s delicateness and struggles.

Thirty-something Captain Sam Cahill (McGuire) and his younger brother Tommy Cahill (Gyllenhall) are opposites. A Marine about to embark on another tour of duty, Sam is a steadfast family man married to his high school sweetheart, Grace (Portman), with whom he has two young daughters. Tommy, his charismatic younger brother, is a drifter just out of jail who's always gotten by on wit and charm. He slides easily into his role as family provocateur on his first night out of prison, at Sam's farewell dinner with their parents, Elsie (Winningham) and Hank Cahill (Shepard), a retired Marine. Shipped out to Afghanistan, Sam is presumed dead when his Black Hawk helicopter is shot down in the mountains. At home in suburbia, the Cahill family suddenly faces a shocking void, and Tommy tries to fill in for his brother by assuming newfound responsibility for himself, Grace, and the children.

If there's a powerful essence to the story, I can say that it's defiantly enhanced by the amazing acting abilities of such cast like Portman, McGuire and Gyllenhall, who not too long ago were just teens running around with parts here and there and making a name for themselves. I wouldn’t say that as kids they weren't talented, but I don't think much of the work from the past ever forced them to such an emotional level of versatilities and distress. My hat's off to all of them as I'm sure they've shut the mouths of many of their critics out there because not only does this film bring out the best in them, but it displays what acting is all about. Which pretty much entails being yourself and keeping it simple and subtle with a passionate draw from within -- At times with just a simple stare or gesture or simply inflection of words makes a hell of a difference. The screen-play (By: David Benioff) for sure brought that out of them in every way imaginable. No matter where this film leads, this will be viewed from a different perspective in a sense that they've graduated to possibilities beyond what they've been recently been given. I mean that's not to say they haven't done WELL, because lord knows they have, but you get the drift.

A lot of the credit I feel would definitely go towards direction. Director, Jim Sheridan who has a pretty good stance and idea when it comes to family as seen in “Brothers,” laid out such a good format for everyone to follow, cast and crew, and pulled off a pretty well orchestrated drama with intensity and disturbing substance to leave you drained regarding the other-side of what goes on while someone's at war versus their homes during deployment. The breakdown is just so unbearable because like the “Cahills,” unless you’re going through it, you simply just don’t know. I wouldn’t want to spoil anything, but it’s implied during a deep scene between “Tommy” as he exchanges words with police officers regarding “Sam” and prior to that as well. It's not to say that this film isn't true because I'm sure there are lots of situations as portrayed in "Brothers," but the clear dysfunction and detachment is cleverly brought the screen.

The grainy-like affect and somber scenery I think elevates the film's life. Why? Well, because for starters, all scenery for some reason matched everyone's levels of emotional distress. It was so obvious that all surroundings were purposely in place for blends of love and hope as well minor disappointment and anger. From the out-of-tune look in the kitchen, to “Tommy's” and “Sam’s” looks and style of dressing all through the humbleness of a simple yard and fairly run-down pick-up truck. I guess a simple middle-class family living their lives in juggling form.

Overall, I found the film to be very well written, presented, paced and the inter-cuts between war and war-like experiences while cutting back to a simple life back in America while struggling was so amazing and helps the understanding of anyone out there in the same kind of mind-set. This film was by far one of the most disturbing and intense films seen this year. It’s an undertow of real life occurrences.

With that said, here’s a remake worth watching. I never saw the Danish version of it as I’ve heard it’s emotions are similar, but I guess I’d have to check it out. It’s kind of strange considering one views the first, first, and then what follows, but I’m not Danish and I never came across it, so fuck it! I’ll stick with “Brothers!”



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