Many will be discouraged to watch Brother From Another Planet simply because of the movie's premise and title. I'll admit that it doesn't exactly sound interesting, but if you're a fan of John Sayles, this is sure to be a delight.
The Brother (the silent lead character played by Joe Morton) is a walking metaphor. That much you can pick up on from about ten minutes in. But what exactly is he a metaphor for? Does he represent the slavery of the African-American race? Or does he truly represent an alien, in the most realistic sense of the word? Maybe he stands for both. But he's the good guy here, and despite his stoic nature, you learn to like him. Joe Morton does a great job in the role, really capturing as much of the emotion of the character without ever actually saying a word. It's pretty magical.
The plot develops as you would expect it to. This Brother is here to help and he can work wonders, almost Messiah-like. It all sounds pretty cheesy, but to watch it all unfold on the TV is something else. It's got some great scenes in it and the camerawork is great. I just liked the whole style of it in general. These kinds of low-budget films always seem to get to me. By the way, did you know that John Sayles financed this movie with some of his MacArthur Fellows 'genius' grant? Did you know that he was one of the few to be selected for that award? I mean, come on. That's pretty impressive.
The only problem that I had with Brother From Another Planet is that it became more preposterous as it went along. But it didn't do this at once, like go from 'normal' to 'crazy' with a single action. No, it builds slowly over the last half hour or so until it all just explodes in a ridiculously choreographed action scene. That's when I sort of lost interest. But thank God it was close to the end.
By saying this, I'm not at all dissing John Sayles. I think the man's a fabulous filmmaker, and Lone Star is really the only film of his that I've seen. I just think he could've patched the ending up a little bit better. Things would've been a little more enjoyable than they were, and that's why I didn't like Brother From Another Planet as much I wanted to. Part of me was saying 'Man, this is cool', while another part was going 'Seriously, man? This is ridiculous.'
But hell, I don't care. Watch this film. If you think it's stupid, turn it off. But try not to. Even if it bores you, just try to get interested. Who knows? Maybe you'll learn something.