Monday, December 7, 2009


"I am haunted by waters."

A young man who never quite got his life in order tries to comfort the family of his older, much more successful brother- a marine Captain who's gone missing in Afghanistan.

I find it fitting that we just discussed portrayal of family relationships in the last Upon Further Review, as this is a movie that not only focuses on the same- but does so with a profound sense of honesty and realism.
Brothers is a film driven by top notch performances. Individually these performances would still stand out, but as an ensemble they are simply breath taking. I can think of few movies where it seemed that every single speaking character blew their part out of the water- but here is a perfect example. I don't even want to name names here, because I would feel if I site one I would have to site them all.
It is this what allows the film to deliver so spectacularly on it's exploration of family infrastructure. For the most part, the film takes delicate care not to stray too far from the discussion of family dynamics and how a shift in one can make for a shift in all. At some point in the movie I found myself relating to every member of the extended family being chronicled- which I think is as much testimony to the universal nature of family roles as it is to the quality of the screenplay- adapted from the original Danish.
I over heard one of the two girls sitting behind me telling her friend with a scoff: "I hate preachy war movies". I would have to disagree with her. I definitely do hate preachy war movies, I just don't agree with the insinuation that that is what Brothers is. This is, far and away, a film about exactly what it's title suggest: brothers. Family. How we can spend our whole lives filling roles dependant on those of our family members, and how we can often feel like we don't get any say in what those might be. Calling this movie a "preachy war movie" is like calling The Last Crusade anti-christian.
One problem I did have however was the ending. Though fitting, it's execution seemed a bit off kilter with the rest of the movie. Maybe that's just me however; and though I might have done it differently myself it still works.
Never the less, Brothers is high grade, unadulterated drama. Something you don't see much of these days, in my opinion. A thought which is further proved by the quality of it's performances. It is just as much a must see for those who appreciate powerful, well executed drama as it is an "avoid at all costs" for anyone who needs more than that for a movie to keep their attention. It is high on tension, but short on action- which is nowhere near a complaint. IT not be for you, but know that if you do decide to pass- you will be missing out.

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