You want an exciting, thrill a minute movie with an uplifting ending, don’t go see this movie. But if you want a powerful, tension filled drama that grips you from start to finish, Jim Sheridan’s “Brothers” will be worth you’re money.
It’s the story of two very different brothers whose relationship comes under fire from a war inside and outisde his family. One brother is a dedicated military man (Tobey Maguire) and the other has just got out of jail (Jake Gyllenhaal). Both have a common bond and have lots of respect for each other. Maguire’s character is sent to Afghanistan, but soon word gets back to his family that he has died. His family are distraught and Gyllenhaal comes to blows with his father, who favours Maguire and who wishes it had been Gyllenhaal who had died instead. Maguire’s wife played by Natalie Portman, becomes overwhelmed with sadness and pain and she becomes very close to the surviving brother their relationship becomes slightly more than just friendship. But it becomes a lot more complicated, when Maguire arrives back home alive. He has returned a very different person though and his recent war experiences and his overpowering sense of paranoia towards his brother’s relationship with his wife, threatens to tear the family apart.
This film starts with an uneasy family dinner scene, that shows lots of anger between family members and this is a just taste for what is to come. Gyllenhaal and Maguire have less time onscreen together than you would expect, but their scenes are gripping and are strangely unpredictable, especially the scene that is happening in the picture above. Portman is amazing in the other main role, as the wife. Her role is also hard to call because although we know she loves her husband, we wonder has her time with Gyllenhaal made her marriage’s future slightly uncertain.
But the most effective character in the film, I believe goes to Sam Shepard, as the brothers father. His role at first looks like the clichéd angry military dad, but we soon see there’s much more to him and he delivers a very tricky performance. Shepard and Gyllenhaal butt head many times and each scene is uncomfortably brilliant.
This films’ only flaw is its pacing, because most audience goers will have seen the trailer already and know Maguire is alive and it takes until the last third of the movie for the other characters to find this out. But with powerful performances and a touching U2 soundtrack, this film is a must see.