Aside from the wobbly start and melodramatic elements, Brothers is a solid film overall, and one worth checking out if only for the performances from Maguire and Gyllenhaal.
For a movie so appropriately named Brothers, it is absolutely vital for the film to clearly show a clear relationship between the two characters, and Sheridan does an excellent job in creating a pair that really feel like they have good chemistry. It's clear to see that Gyllenhaal's and Maguire's characters care for one another, despite the different paths that they have taken in their lives. Maguire's Captain Sam Cahill is a respected United States marine, a man that is appreciated by many. Gyllenhaal's Tommy Cahill is a complete contrast, he's a convicted felon and a devoted drunk, who is seen as a disgrace to the Cahill family name; but despite these differences, Sheridan shows how the brothers truly do love each other. However, as the film dramatically progresses, the pair undergo a drastic transition; with each brother slowly becoming the other. This sense of character development is intriguing to witness, with Sam slowly declining to a madness fuelled by jealousy and paranoia, and with Tommy slowly inclining into the shoes that his brother once wore.
Natalie Portman's portrayal of a wife struggling to keep her family united from her husband's inability to cope and Tommy's eagerness to redeem himself was both upsetting and staggering to watch, which can only be seen as a compliment to her performance in this role. Her heart-wrenching scene with Gyllenhaal when she informs him of her husband's supposed death was a clear indication of her ability as an actress, with her character breaking down to the devastating news.
The finale scene was without a doubt the pinnacle of the film's emotional narrative. The progression of Sam's downward-spiral into mental instability comes to a violent and dramatic climax, and Tobey's magnificent portrayal of this shocking scene remains one of the most underrated pieces of acting I've witnessed. He wholly captures the intensity of the situation from his ability to bring to life a completely damaged character reaching his tipping point, a behaviour that has progressively been building since his return from his disappearance. We can't help but sympathise for Sam and Grace in that heartbreaking moment, with Grace coming to the harsh realisation that her family is unravelling before her eyes.
I do have an issue, however, with the dialogue at times. At certain moments it seems a little forced, as if Sheridan was trying to cram in a lot of backstory within a rather short 105-minute movie. I also feel that Sam's initial disappearance could have been handled a little better, too. It seemed shoe-horned in and almost out of nowhere, which was a little jarring to watch. I feel it happened way too early on, and would have preferred to see an extra 15-20 minutes focusing on his close relationship to his family. Not only would this have been beneficial to the timing of the narrative, it would also add even more emotional and intensity around his disappearance; and in turn, his reunion with his family. For such a moving film, his well-anticipated reunion with his family seemed nothing short of anti-climatic, which was a shame seeing as the majority of the film was executed very well.
Brothers, as a whole, does an excellent job in presenting the magnitude of pre-war fears and post-war struggles. The movie has become one of the best accidental finds, and is undoubtedly a truly underrated addition to the war genre.
This movie is definitely worth your time just for the two main actors in this there performances are fantastic but the story is very predictable and it does have pacing issues but there's enough in here just keep you interested in the movie. The movie does start out slow but by the end it will have you on the edge of your seat all thanks to the performances by the actors in this movie but overall this is a good movie but could have been great if the story was a little less predictable. 3/5
to the screenplay to English languages. it tell about the powerful story showing to Captain Sam Cahill and younger brother Tommy Cahill, who are polar opposites. When his Black Hawk helicopter is shot down in the mountains Sam is presumed dead and the Cahill family suddenly faces a shocking void. A young man comforts his older brother's wife and children after he goes missing in Afghanistan.
showing the with different aspect of war after the fighting has war end. show the mental health which some the solider
Solid citizen, devoted family man and career solder, Sam Cahill (Tobey Maguire) is about to embark on his latest mission to Afghanistan. His diametrically opposed brother; the black sheep recently released from jail, Tommy Cahill (Jake Gyllenhaal), is seemingly determined to become a career criminal.
A permanent thorn in his ex-military fathers Hank (Sam Shepherd's) side, Tommy is nothing short of unwanted at a combined welcome home and farewell family meal. Unable to celebrate in harmony, Tommy is jibed relentlessly his vitriolic father "try mimicking your brother for a change?" "You're brother's a hero ... what do you do?"
Promising to return home to his loving childhood sweetheart wife, Grace (Natalie Portman), Sam encourages Tommy to pursue a better life. Inadvertently perpetuating Tommy's behavior, his relationships with both his father and Grace deteriorate further.
When news arrives that Sam is missing-in-action and presumed dead, however, Grace and Tommy mourn his loss by forming an unlikely friendship. Tommy finding a psychological liberation begins to redeem himself. Finding purpose and direction by rebuilding Grace's collapsing kitchen, and taking on a role as protector and male fixture in her children's Maggie and Isabelle (Taylor Geare and Bailee Madison) life.
Drawn ever closer to Grace, a more than a platonic friendship develops. However, when Sam turns up alive and is mentally damaged from the tortures endured during his extended PoW capture, he registers the sexual tension between Grace and Tommy. Sam's posttraumatic stress and paranoia lead a complete break down, descending the situation into raw emotional chaos.
Although the overly saturated and hyper current topic may deter some viewers, there is an edge this film has over its war movie rivals. Crafted and infused with realism, agonizing moral dilemmas and family resentment, it resonates past the battlefield.
Taking liberties and editing some of the tension and grunt of its original source material, David Benioff's screenplay is a little too slick and clean obviously attempting to make it more palatable but sadly letting the film down.
Unclear of its demographic, it is paced slowly for the mature viewer but angled towards the younger demographic by its casting and the ever present feeling of Hollywood's war propaganda machine.
The extremely strong performances are what make this film enjoyable. Gyllenhaal is vulnerable yet commanding as Tommy, Portman is correctly balanced, emotional without being hysterical, and Shepherd is brittle yet dignified. Both child actors Geare and Madison were simply sensational and gave the film its needed heart.
Maguire's deliberately stiff and twitchy Sam sadly suffers greatly from Benioff's editing. With little time initially to adequately endear audiences, his performance as a fractured character is lackluster. Sam/Maguire's tormented crescendo is dreadfully anticlimactic in comparison to some of the powerful and poignant scenes delivered by Portman and Gyllenhaal.
The Verdict: The idea that "There are two sides to every family" is clearly defined. Two brothers. Two personalities. Two lives. Two hearts. Two minds is what resonates when reviewing this film; was it enjoyable or just watchable?
Published: The Queanbeyan Age
Date of Publication: 26/03/2010
There were some solid messages here and there about family and post war mentality, but not good enough to cover the flaws in this movie.