Brothers. Or, “When Great Movie Premises Go Horribly Wrong”. This movie is a tour de force for 3 of the powerhouse actors in the film, supposing to show that, yes, they can actually act and nothing more. So goes the story of “Brothers”. Tobey Maguire plays Sam Cahill, a Captain in the military who, although it kills him, must report back to Afghanistan for the war. Natalie Portman plays the gorgeous little put-upon wife he has to leave behind. Then there is the BROTHER Jake Gyllenhaal (See how I tied the title in?!), a bad boy who seeks redemption by his family and the people he let down by being a criminal. His father, Sam Shephard, is very unforgiving, and constantly pits the good son, bad son situation into play.
When Tobey’s activation into the war begins, and early on he is captured and pronounced KIA by the Marines, all the cliches that other movies like Pearl Harbor come tumbling down. Natalie Portman is left with their two daughters, and Jake Gyllenhaal decides to man up by taking over fathering duties all the while being reminded by HIS father that “The wrong son died!!!” …Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story did a spectacular job of the constant reminder of the cliche’ that this movie doesn’t fail to bombard you with.
Now I can say that “Brothers” is fantastically acted by all involved, especially Tobey Maguire, shining through a few of the riveting scenes the film offers so few of. When he is captured and forced to kill his fellow marine after months of torture, he does so with a steely eyed yet animalistic rage that only comes from fear and desperation. The Academy loves people’s transformations for their roles, and when the season comes, his role should not be overlooked. Returning emaciated and scarred from imprisonment, he wastes little time to ask his BROTHER,and I quote, “Did you fuck Grace?” Besides sharing a kiss, Tommy and Grace’s relationship evolve at the pace of a snail during his “Super Uncle” role, playing goofily and unrealistically in the snow with the two daughters, he starts to become the father they lost.
Some of the more fucked up plot situations are strange in comparison such as the kids hardly giving a shit and even seeming disappointed when their father returns. This script offers little in entertainment, the pace was extremely slow throughout, and most of the key scenes they show in the commercials are all the excitement you get. Without giving anything away, the end gives you little in the way of satisfaction.
The breakout here is the impressive Bailee Madison, the elder daughter (9-10 years old) of Natalie and Tobey, with an insanely adult-like portrayal and delivers the most gut wrenching lines in the fashion only a goofy little brat can do. Showing much disdain and little remorse for her fathers return, she’s one to keep an eye on.This movie just gave me the feeling that these three actors wanted to show people that, yes, they can still act and not much else. “Oh you wanted an entertaining film? No, no, no you dumb shits, this is just a practice film for us to keep our acting chops well oiled.”
The Prince of Persia, Spiderman, and Queen Amidala, a geeks dream team, leave little to be desired when not doing what they do best. Howard Stern said it, ” He needs to put Spiderman into every role he plays and it will make 100 million.”
By the time you’re halfway through this, you want Spiderman to come save you…Just swing on in and carry you up and away, remember “Eveyrbody gets one.”
2 Out of 5
(NerdBastards would like to Thank the staff at AMC Framingham 15 Ma, for their ongoing support of our work)