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A Reel Life film section

Issue: Autumn 2010

Brothers (2009) movie review

The Ones Left Behind


When a marine is reported killed behind enemy lines his ex-con brother steps forward to help the wife and daughters cope.

It's amazing how nobly Americans are acting in their contemporary war movies. No matter how they struggle, how badly they are beaten down, they are just plain good guys. Maybe a teensy weensy bit flawed, but not through any fault of their own. In short, propaganda movies are back in a big way.

In this adaptation of the Danish film, Tobey Maguire plays a shaven-headed marine officer who leaves his 'girls' behind scant days after picking up his brother (Jake Gyllenhaal) from prison. His wife (Natalie Portman) is less than pleased to have the black sheep back in their lives.

Movie poster; Brothers; Festivale film review; 220x326

Movie poster, Brothers
There are two sides to every family

This is a contemporary war movie, so you guess the plot. The angst-ridden family must bravely endure the military funeral, the ex-con finds redemption in caring for his brother's family, etc. etc.

Maguire provides accidental comedy relief with his performance. His idea of deepening his emotional portrayal is to stare harder into the camera. It's never fun to see an actor so far out of his depth.

Festivale's readers have responded overwhelmingly with the recommendation -- see the original, subtitles and all.

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by Ali Kayn
Due for Australian release 18 March 2010
For credits and official site details, see below
Search Festivale for more work by the film-makers below.

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Just the facts:

Title: Brothers (2009)
Written by: Writing credits (WGA) David Benioff (screenplay) Susanne Bier (motion picture "Brodre") and Anders Thomas Jensen (motion picture "Brodre")
Directed by: Jim Sheridan
Running time: 104 mins

The Players:Jake Gyllenhaal, Natalie Portman, Tobey Maguire, Sam Shepard, Mare Winningham

Official website:
IMDb entry

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