Tuesday 11 January 2011

Brothers (2009) - Jim Sheridan

In need of a Natalie Portman fix in preparation for the upcoming Black Swan?  Can't stop hankering after Jake Gyllenhaal after the recent Love & Other Drugs?  Well Brothers may just satiate your appetite.

Two brothers: Sam (Tobey Maguire) the all-American marine serving time in Afghanistan and Tommy (Gyllenhaal) recently released from prison.  When Sam is presumed missing in action, Tommy is left to comfort his wife Grace (Portman) and family.  Can Tommy live up to Sam's memory?  Will the after effects of war destroy the family or bring them together?

Does anyone really care?

You see, you can probably guess the rest of the plot from here on.  It's another example of a film hijacking the war in the Middle East to provide some emotional weight to a weak, unbelievable plot that is otherwise a fairly straightforward family drama.  The film attempts to explore the psyche of those who suffer the turmoil of war, but is never quite convincing and never quite tugs hard enough at the heartstrings.  The (otherwise talented) actors do their best with the script and its many plot holes, but the film fails to become anything more than another romantic drama in a similar vein to Pearl Harbour or Armageddon.  It's perfectly watchable and by no means a bad film.  It's just not that great either.

Thankfully, the obvious attractions of the leading cast are enough to keep you watching.  Just.