Cinema Summaries: Brothers
Lingering on the note of the most precise melodrama, Brothers effectively analyzes the impact of extreme postwar trauma. In fact, the movie would have climbed past the state of mere poignancy and reach the peak of true cinematic luminosity had it...
Lingering on the note of the most precise melodrama, Brothers effectively analyzes the impact of extreme postwar trauma. In fact, the movie would have climbed past the state of mere poignancy and reach the peak of true cinematic luminosity had it not sputtered off into a classically cheesy ending.
Brothers, is introduced with Captain Sam Cahill (Tobey Maguire) and his wife Grace (Natalie Portman). Sam, just days before he embarks on his fourth tour of Afganistan, goes to pick up his brother Tommy (Jake Gyllenhaal) who's fresh out of prison for armed robbery.
Sam plays the reputable son while Jake tackles the role of the renegade outcast of their Vietnam Veteran father (Sam Shepard). The father hides his favoritism under only a thin veil, most directly in an especially uncomfortable dinner scene.
When Sam's helicopter is shot down and he is presumed dead his scoundrel brother reforms himself by taking on responsibility of the family. This is when director Jim Sheridan works his multiple talents, cutting between scenes of the smile glazed red faces of the family ice skating, while Sam himself is being brutally tortured by the Taliban.
Jake and his brother's wife, believing Sam is dead, only sport a short show of romance, kissing in front of the romantically dim gleam of firelight, but decide to leave it at that.
Then, of course, Sam returns. His physical deprecation and gaunt face represents his soul's haunting secret, a secret he refuses to share with his wife. He is paranoid and irritable, and the eventually revelation of the brief romance between his brother and his wife lead to a wild series of misconceptions that push Sam, as he tore up his newly remodeled kitchen in an impressive mix of rage and subtle anguish, over the cliff he was barely clinging to in the beginning
The acting is really what makes this remake of the 2004 Danish film work. Maguire's incredible performance could carry the cast alone, but doesn't need to. Gyllenhaal plays the perfect foil throughout the film, even when transitioning from the contrast to the perfect brother, to the exact opposite of the crazy and violent one. And even though her role only requires her to cry and looked shocked, Natalie Portman does so with the utmost prestige.
The brilliant and unified acting of the cast, strung together by exquisite directing, creates a one-two punch that makes up for the horrible 15th round, and, overall, the movie creates a well-composed, atmospheric feeling, that leaves a lasting aura in its wake.