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Brothers (Brødre) (2004)


Average Rating: 7.5/10
Reviews Counted: 72
Fresh: 64
Rotten: 8

Critics Consensus: This tense, understated drama explores the complications of individual and social ethics stemming from the repercussions of war on one man and his family.

Average Rating: 7.6/10
Reviews Counted: 27
Fresh: 24
Rotten: 3

Critics Consensus: This tense, understated drama explores the complications of individual and social ethics stemming from the repercussions of war on one man and his family.


Average Rating: 3.8/5
User Ratings: 3,989


Movie Info

Two brothers unwittingly exchange roles under the fog of war in this powerful drama. Michael (Ulrich Thomsen) and Jannick (Nikolaj Lie Kaas) are two brothers who have always meshed as well as oil and water. Michael is a caring husband and father who risen to the rank of major in the Danish Army, while Jannick is an alcoholic with a violent streak who has been in and out of prison much of his life. Jannick has just been released after serving time for armed robbery when Michael learns he's being … More

R (for violence, language and brief nudity)
Art House & International , Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
Anders Thomas Jensen
In Theaters:
Sep 20, 2005
Box Office:
IFC Films - Official Site


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Critic Reviews for Brothers (Brødre)

All Critics (83) | Top Critics (32) | Fresh (64) | Rotten (8) | DVD (10)

Bier, honored as an Emerging Master at the Seattle International Film Festival this year, is clearly a director to watch. In her hands, a story that could become melodramatic is gripping and heartbreaking.

Full Review… | June 24, 2005
Seattle Times
Top Critic

At its core, Susanne Bier's wrenching portrayal of the shifting dynamics within a Danish family is really about survival, about how we cope in the face of shattering grief and what we'll do -- anything, really -- to save ourselves.

Full Review… | June 10, 2005
Miami Herald
Top Critic

A profoundly affecting movie, one in which our sympathies lie with everyone.

Full Review… | June 9, 2005
Arizona Republic
Top Critic

Feels like an amalgam of newsreel and stage drama, but with the most potent aspects of both art forms.

Full Review… | June 3, 2005
Washington Post
Top Critic

Keeps itself floating above the suds thanks to Bier's crisp and lively visual design, the general loveliness of her cast ... and her attention to small moments of arresting domestic authenticity.

Full Review… | June 3, 2005
Toronto Star
Top Critic

Strong performances and scenes of the father's imprisonment in war camps make for tense viewing.

Full Review… | November 7, 2012
Empire Magazine Australasia

if every film I see is as satisfying a complex human drama as this, I wouldn't have much to gripe about.

Full Review… | September 18, 2007

Un drama familiar intimista y bien actuado sobre los efectos que puede producir un trauma en la vida de las personas, y sobre la oportunidad de cambiar.

Full Review… | March 4, 2007
Uruguay Total

A poignant reminder that social issues, in the end, are personal matters.

Full Review… | February 22, 2007
Film Journal International

...about the kind of choices that we might make under duress â" and about the sort of accommodations we must necessarily make with the difficult choices our loved ones make.

Full Review… | November 15, 2005
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

This is storytelling at its best, with each scene building toward a crescendo of moral decisions.

September 22, 2005
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

The two male leads, bulwarks of the Danish film industry for more than a decade, play off each other like the veterans they are.

Full Review… | August 12, 2005
Charlotte Observer

After the film ends you may find fault with certain plot elements, but while you're watching it, Bier's effort totally sucks you in.

Full Review… | August 5, 2005
Kansas City Star


Full Review… | July 16, 2005
Reel Film Reviews

The intimate handheld camera work and the attention to life's small details bring an emotional authenticity to this heartbreaking story.

June 24, 2005
Salt Lake Tribune

The film melts into a duel of despair, rivalry and reconciliation that is as pure as it is painful.

Full Review… | June 23, 2005
Seattle Post-Intelligencer

The been-there, seen-that feeling is hard to shake, despite the undeniable skill in the presentation.

Full Review… | June 23, 2005

The wrenching "Brothers" is like "The Deer Hunter" for the War on Terror.

Full Review… | June 23, 2005
Capital Times (Madison, WI)

A haunting anti-war film.

Full Review… | June 18, 2005
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Less an exercise than it is a rut.

Full Review… | June 9, 2005
Film Freak Central

This Danish film ultimately loses the battle due to an underwhelming exit strategy.

June 9, 2005
South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Audience Reviews for Brothers (Brødre)

One brother, recently released from prison, befriends his brother's wife, while the latter is believed dead in Afghanistan.
We watch no film in a vacuum. The films we've seen in the past inevitably affect how we view new films. In this case, I couldn't help but compare the original Danish version of this story to the American remake starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Tobey Maguire, and Natalie Portman. All three American actors have turned in good, sometimes great, performances in other work, but I found the American version staid and uninteresting.
Now, I compare that to this film. The performances by Nikolaj Lie Kaas, Ulrich Thomsen, and Connie Nielsen are far and away better. Even on the most superficial level, Kaas looks like a fuck-up brother while Thomsen's maturity and political commitment resonate his every move. The final climactic moments hold more suspense and engender more fear because Thomsen's emotional decay is a more extreme inner torment and his physical stature is more demanding than anything that Tobey Maguire could inspire.
There are almost no differences in the stories, but the way the original is told, by actors who are truly right for their parts rather than Hollywood stars trying to fit into unwilling molds, makes Brothers compelling drama.
As much as I liked this film, especially in comparison to its flaccid American cousin, the story is still littered with "must-happens," in Super Reviewer Alice Shen's words.
Overall, Brothers proves that a clone is never as good as the original.

Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer


Incredibly compelling take on the consequences of war and how it affects the family, in particular the relationship between the two brothers. Contains a great performance from Ulrich Thomsen and and the brilliant Connie Nielsen. This is film making at its absolute best, just a shame Bier doesn't do more films-I must check out the rest of her filmography If you enjoyed this check out After The Wedding another great film by Susanne Bier.

Sarah Gaish

Super Reviewer


The original BROTHERS movie. I liked it alot better than the American version, even though I thought that one was good, too. There was just something much more moving about this one. I have to say that the American movie script was very close to this script..almost word for word sometimes. But, on the whole, I think that they did a better job telling the story in this one. The camera work alone had a better artsy feel to it. Nice movie!

Cynthia S.

Super Reviewer


[font=Century Gothic]"Brothers" is a film from Denmark that starts out with Michael(Ulrich Thomsen) who is an army major about to ship out to Afghanistan. On the day before he leaves, his neer-do-well brother Jannik(NIkolaj Lie Kaas) is being released from prison after three years for a botched bank robbery. Michael is married to Sarah(Connie Nielsen) and they have two young daughters. Soon after arriving in Afghanistan, Michael's helicopter is shot down. And then Jannik starts to spend more time around the young widow's household...[/font]
[font=Century Gothic][/font]
[font=Century Gothic]"Brothers" is a constantly surprising and emotionally powerful movie about the cost that war has not only on those who serve but also those they leave behind. Whenever it seems to slip into a groove, it does something to move the characters out of their comfortable lives, particularly one event about halfway through the movie. "Brothers" is a very, very well acted movie which makes it all the more convincing.[/font]

Walter M.

Super Reviewer

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