Only the dead have seen the end of war.
Of this weeks delivery I ignored the hoofs and claws in The men who stare at goats and Fantastic Mr. Fox and instead plumped for Brothers, the American remake of a lesser known Danish film from 2004. There has been considerable chatter regarding this remake and the likable cast of Jake Gyllenhaal, Natalie Portman and motherfucking Tobey Maguire seemed promising enough. In hindsight Maguire put in one hell of a performance.
I'm realizing now it's quite hard to talk about this film without spoiling it. Avoid watching the trailer, it ruins the first act of the film and undersells the rest.
In stark contrast to what will be remembered as this years war drama The Hurt Locker, Brothers shows very little of the war itself. Only a brief chapter showing the capture and imprisonment of Sam (Maguire) the older brother is shown. Instead, we are firmly on home turf witnessing an uncomfortable aftermath. There have been many great films to comment on the after-effects of war and Brothers is at the more melodramatic end of the spectrum. Somehow though it comes away feeling very truthful. It is a sharply focused, engaging film and after a six pack of Hoptical Illusion I'm finding it hard to fault. That's not to say that I loved it, but it takes a message and stands by it unflinchingly and there is a certain appeal to that. It feels like a personal story and tells a tale of family, death and paranoia. If you're looking to be shaken by an intense and touching drama you could do much much worse.