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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

DVD Review: Brothers

Brothers - An Alliance Films Release


DVD Release Date: March 23rd, 2010

Rated 14A for coarse language, violence, and disturbing content.

Running time: 105 minutes

Jim Sheridan (dir.)

David Benioff (screenplay)

Susanne Bier (motion picture “Brødre”)

Anders Thomas Jensen (motion picture “Brødre”)

Thomas Newman (music)

“Winter” performed by U2

Tobey Maguire as Capt. Sam Cahill

Jake Gyllenhaal as Tommy Cahill

Natalie Portman as Grace Cahill

Sam Shepard as Hank Cahill

Clifton Collins, Jr. as Major Cavazos

Mare Winningham as Elsie Cahill

Bailee Madison as Isabelle Cahill

Taylor Geare as Maggie Cahill

Patrick Flueger as Private Joe Willis

Carey Mulligan as Cassie Willis

Program Content and Package Artwork: © 2009 Brothers Productions, LLC. All Rights Reserved. Package Design and Summary: © MMX Lions Gate Films Inc. All Rights Reserved. Distributed Exclusively by Alliance Films. All Rights Reserved.

Our reviews below:


Brothers DVD Review By John C.

***1/2 (out of 4)

If The Hurt Locker was the story of war as a drug, than Brothers is the story of war as murder. It’s about, even if we come out of a battle physically alive, the scars that remain with us for life. The death of our previous selves.

Tobye Maguire plays Sam, a soldier enlisting for another stint in Afghanistan, leaving behind his wife, (Natalie Portman), his two daughters, and his brother, Tommy (Jake Gyllenhaal), who has recently been released from jail. When Sam is presumed dead, Tommy starts to take care of his wife and kids.

The film is centred on three excellent performances, and a brilliant supporting cast. Tobey Maguire is amazing in his portrayal of someone with PTSD. This is a family drama, as well as a war movie, and it succeeds as both - an excellent film.

The film’s major flaw comes not from the movie itself, but from the advertising. Way too much of the plot was given away in the trailers, so it doesn’t quite have the same emotionally draining effect, if you’ve previously seen the trailer.

The DVD includes audio commentary with director Jim Sheridan, a featurette on Brothers and the Danish film on which it was based, and a featurette on Sheridan.


Brothers DVD Review By Erin V.

***3/4 (out of 4)

Based on the 2004 Danish film Brødres, Brothers, tells the story of two brothers. One, Capt. Sam Cahill, is a marine embarking on his fourth tour of Afghanistan, and the other, Tommy, is an ex-convict just out of jail. Tommy is slightly estranged from the family, except for with Sam, and when Sam is presumed dead after a chopper crash, Tommy steps up to help his wife and two kids he left behind.

The alternating scenes between the US and Afghanistan really create a balance here that keeps the film moving forward quite well. This film is both a drama and a war film, and really succeeds in showing how the war overseas doesn't stay there, as the people at home and those who come back from it, are haunted by both the memories and realities of war.

I don't want to reveal too much, since I found that the one thing that made this film less enjoyable for me, was the fact that I had seen the trailer. The trailer tells far more than it should.

The strongest part of this film is definitely the acting. Tobey Maguire is excellent as Sam, his performance real and intense, and Jake Gylenhaal is also very believable as Tommy. Sam's wife Grace is played very well by Natalie Portman, and their two daughters are played very realistically by Bailee Madison, and Taylor Geare. The rest of the supporting cast as well, all do a great job.

Thomas Newman's score also fits well, since his style of music can play quite nicely to this kind of film. The song over the closing credits, Winter, performed by U2, is also very fitting.


Brothers DVD Review By Nicole

**** (out of 4)

Brothers is a low key, believable drama about the hardships of a military family. Tobey Maguire is excellent as Sam, a military dad of two young daughters. His brother, Tommy, has just been released from prison, and is trying to get his life back on track. When Sam is deployed to Afghanistan, he finds himself in a terrible situation, and is forced to do something unthinkable. Meanwhile, back home, he is presumed dead. His wife, Grace, and Tommy help care for the kids, who are grieving this apparent loss of their father. When Sam eventually does come back, however, he has completely changed.

While a hard film to watch at times, Brothers is very compelling. I really liked how the film is edited, to show the contrast between human brutality and childhood innocence. The violence in this film is shown in an honest, but restrained and bloodless way. All of the actors in this film did an amazing performance. I am actually surprised that Brothers wasn’t up for any Oscars. Brothers is a thought provoking film that is worth owning on DVD.


Brothers DVD Review By Maureen

***1/2 (out of 4)

Brothers is a powerfully delivered story of two brothers each dealing with the after effects of the war in Afghanistan on their family. Capt. Sam Cahill (Tobey Maguire) goes missing in Afghanistan leaving his wife and two daughters at home in the U.S. presuming him dead. Sam’s brother Tommy (Jake Gyllenhaal) has just gotten out of prison in the U.S. and is around to help Sam’s wife, Grace (Natalie Portman) and her two young daughters pick up the pieces of their lives. When Sam does return home he has trouble adjusting to the changed dynamics at home.

The strength of brothers is in the emotionally charged performances by the three lead actors. Tobey Maguire is particularly strong as the emotionally fragile Capt. Sam Cahill. The transformation from the pre-duty Cahill to the damaged man that returns home is entirely believable and powerful to watch. Jake Gyllenhaal as Tommy and Natalie Portman as Grace also give superb performances.

Brothers is a really strong movie that while difficult to watch at certain scenes is worth watching for the solid performances, especially Tobey Maguire. Buy it or rent it.


Brothers DVD Review By Tony

**** (out of 4)

Brothers is an American adaptation of the 2004 Danish film Brødre. As the film opens, marine captain Sam Cahill (Tobey Maguire), on leave from Afghanistan, is bringing his brother Tommy (Jake Gyllenhaal) out of prison after serving time for robbing a bank. Sam’s wife Grace (Natalie Portman), two young daughters and stepmother welcome Tommy, but their father, ex-marine ‘Nam veteran Hank (Sam Shepard) makes his disappointment in Tommy as clear as his pride in Sam. Back in Afghanistan, Sam is shot down and presumed dead, but he has been captured and brutally treated. Meanwhile back home Tommy does what he can to keep out of trouble and support his brother’s family, renovating their kitchen and spending time with Grace and the girls. Just as feelings between Tommy and Grace start to develop further, Sam is rescued and brought home with severe PTSD and survivor guilt, leading to alienation of his kids and an obsessive suspicion about Grace and Tommy that could end tragically.

Despite some brutal moments, the sensitive script and excellent performances make Brothers a very satisfying life-affirming film.


Consensus: Brothers is a powerfully acted film about the relationship between two brothers. ***3/4 (Out of 4)

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