Blood Brother Reviews
Well, I can safetly say, now, that I loved it. To say it is just about a guy who likes to serve is only scratching the surface. I too have taught kids in church (never at this level of intensity), and I know how it feels when you feel responsible for the kids. The way a child looks up to you is one of the greatest feelings anyone can have, and you feel like you are their parent (or at least a good older brother).
The main thing that Rocky has to go through that I don't (and I really doubt I could) is the death of a child. Even thinking of seeing one of my former kingdom kid students dying is hard to even type about.
What the movie does not say is (I am more than likely sure) why Rocky wants to do it: He does it for God.
The movie reminded me of another equally great movie, "Born into Brothels". That movie is one of my top ten favorite documentaries, and so is this.
This is the best movie I have seen all year.
However, there were numerous instances during the viewing of this film when I was struck with unease regarding the portrayal of Bratt as selfless saviour as well as the portrayal of the community where he worked. I also found some of Bratt's behavior to be professionally questionable. Below are some instances in the film that contributed to my unease.
With regard to professional responsibility, I found the instances when Bratt and Hoover sought comfort from the children in the orphanage during their times of grief troubling. For example, when the young girl dies half way through the film, I found it inappropriate for Bratt to relay the details of her death and seek emotional support from a child living in the orphanage.
Also, related to the girl's death mentioned above, both Hoover and Bratt express frustration that she was not taken to the hospital before becoming mortally ill. No discussion regarding the subjects of poverty, access to services, poor education or skepticism of institutions were suggested as possible barriers to her family seeking medical care. What was portrayed was that the community's faith and social practices alone prevented a visit to the hospital. Considering that Bratt had decided to marry into the community portrayed in this film, I would have thought some research into the daily circumstances of the inhabitants warranted.
Finally, at no point are people from the community interviewed about their lives, beliefs and practices. Bratt mentioned that the community was outraged to find out that the orphanage cared for children and families living with HIV. I also got the impression that Bratt disapproved of the community's response. As a health care worker I am well aware of the stigma, fear and misconceptions often linked to HIV and AIDS in almost all cultural settings. I would have thought someone working within the HIV community would have been aware of these social barriers and would have done some legwork within the community regarding.
In conclusion, Blood Brothers is an evocative portrait of one man's struggle to find his place in the world. Unfortunately, it's portrayal of the the international medical relief work performed by this man is lacking in depth and analysis. As such, I did respond emotionally to the powerful acts of kindness perpetrated by the protagonist and others in the film. However, my need for transparency in documentary film making culminating in a thorough analysis of as many points of view of the topic portrayed was thwarted. I do believe this discrepancy may be a result of the predominantly faith based perspective of the filmmakers.
"Love is not self-seeking, it is not proud, it does not boast." It's clear to me Braat was recorded by his friends, friends who happened to be very talented filmmakers and wanted to tell Braat's story. Braat is clearly reluctant to share so much to the rest of the world, and he only does so because he trusts his friends.
If Braat had been the one making and directing this, and if he had gone to India specifically for the purpose of making this film, then I would agree with all the dissenters and this film would be garbage.
However, as it is clear he went there to serve and meet the needs of others, even before the film was made or any thought was given to the film, and he is clearly willing to risk his life for these children in the best display of sacrificial love I've ever seen, this is the best film I have ever seen.
It's a story of love and the power of discovering one's purpose. If you haven't seen it yet, go watch it now. You will be the better for it.
I was left with as many questions as answers. And Rocky seems a little bit odd.
Misses the mark.