Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Film Review: BROTHERS (2009)

brothers_posterDirector: Jim Sheridan
Running Time: 101 Minutes
Certification (UK): 15

Genre: Drama
UK Release Date: 22nd January 2010

Watched on Sky+ Tuesday 29th March 2011


This is another film that got quite a bit of attention from the critics when it first came out. Given the fact that they generally know a bit more about film than I do, I decided to give it a try when it appeared in the TV schedules. Based on a Danish film of the same name that came out in 2004, it is, at times a very gripping and, at the same time, a very touching story of two brothers. I found it pretty good, not least for one stand-out performance, but more of that later. Here’s a brief summary first (summary haters and those that don’t wish to know anything about the plot please help fix the kitchen while I write the next paragraph).

Sam Cahill is a Captain in the Marines; he has a wife, Grace, and two young daughters, Isabelle and Maggie. At the beginning of the film he is about to deploy to Afghanistan. At the same time his brother, Tommy is just getting out of Jail. Their father, Hank, is a Viet Nam vet and makes it clear that he disapproves of the way Tommy has lead his life. Sam goes off to Afghanistan and Grace and the girls go about their normal lives. Tommy turns up every now and then, but Grace doesn’t really like him. Then the news comes that Sam is dead and Grace is devastated. Tommy, feeling guilty spends more and more time with her and the girls and they become quite attached to him. <<SPOILER ALERT>> Little do they know, but Sam is alive and being held captive in the mountains of Afghanistan. Eventually he is rescued, after suffering at the hands of his captors and being forced to do things he would rather forget, Will he be able to live with his wife and family again? Will they be able to live with him having thought him dead? Well, I guess I’d better not tell you or the Spoiler Police will be after me.

This is a really well made film with, surprisingly, a great musical score; it really stunned me how good it was! I’m not sure on the setting, but it looked, and felt, very cold. Performance wise, well, by far the best performance came from Tobey Maguire as Capt. Sam Cahill, he really pulled all the stops out and went way up in my estimation. Both Jake Gyllenhaal as Tommy Cahill and Natalie Portman as Grace Cahill were also very good. It was nice to see Sam Shepard as Hank Cahill and Mare Winningham as Elsie Cahill. Finally, a special mention for Bailee Madison as Isabelle Cahill and Taylor Geare as Maggie Cahill, both young actresses were very good also.

I was quite surprised just how good this film was. I was prepared for a bitter wordy drama all about feelings and bitterness. Yes, those things were there, but not in the way I expected. I found it much more watchable than I thought it would be and that’s credit to the filmmakers and the actors involved. It’s quite a tricky subject to cover and I thought they did a pretty good job… Recommended.

My Score: 7.5/10

(RT=Rotten Tomatoes)
IMDb Page:
RT Page: TBA – the site is currently suffering difficulties (FOR A CHANGE!)
Official Site:

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