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.



Total Count: 74


Audience Score

User Ratings: 4,120
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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 sent to Afghanistan; Jannick quarrels with both Michael and his parents at a going-away dinner, which does nothing to endear him to Michael's wife, Sarah (Connie Nielsen). However, when Sarah receives word that Michael's helicopter has been shot down and the crew has gone missing, Jannick tries to assume some degree of familial responsibility, helping Sarah with the children and helping to keep the house in repair. As the months roll on, Jannick finds that family life agrees with him; he cuts back on his drinking, gets a job, and grows increasingly fond of Sarah, who also takes a liking to her brother-in-law's new style. However, as Jannick finally grows into a responsible adult, he and Sarah learn that Michael has been released from an Afghan military prison and is being sent home. As Sarah and Jannick come to terms with their feelings for one another, they are disturbed by Michael's new presence; after several hellish months in captivity, he's become an angry and emotionally broken man, who is haunted by ugly memories and suspects his wife and brother of betrayal.

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Critic Reviews for Brothers

All Critics (74) | Top Critics (29)

Audience Reviews for Brothers

  • Nov 27, 2011
    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 <i>looks like</i> 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 <i>Brothers</i> 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, <i>Brothers</i> proves that a clone is never as good as the original.
    Jim H Super Reviewer
  • Sep 14, 2010
    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
  • Aug 27, 2010
    Now, I've seen beofre i saw the american version, so i don'tr remeber much abou ti, but i do know i liked it alot. Just as much as I liked the new one. it was different then this one.
    Joseph E Super Reviewer
  • Apr 21, 2010
    recently remade with tobey maguire, jake gyllenhall, and natalie portman, watching this now after ive seen the remake its interesting to remember how faithful the remake was. this film is a well told story involving a guy going to war, presumed dead, and then him returning home, whilst inbetween the emotions of his family, especially his wife, dealing with griefe, and his brother trying to make good. all concerned are very watchable, and again danish director susanne bier, proving shes got a lot to offer
    scott g Super Reviewer

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