Starring: Tobey Maguire, Jake Gyllenhaal and Natalie Portman, Sam Shepard
Director: Jim Sheridan
Time: 104 mins
Format: Blu-ray / DVD
Tobey Maguire, Jake Gyllenhaal and Natalie Portman what a line up, the stage is set for a brilliantly acted Oscar-worthy film. But it just doesn’t happen.
Tobey Maguire stars as Sam, a military man about to do a second tour of Afghanistan. Gyllenhaal stars as Tommy, a recent prison parolee who’s down a stretch for armed robbery. Sam’s helicopter crashes and he is reportedly killed. Yet he is not dead, he has been captured and is tortured. His wife Grace (Portman) tries to keep the house in shape and the kids happy but she’s struggling. Looking for redemption and a place back in the family Tommy helps out. Will a relationship between Grace and Tommy develop? Well Tommy seems a lot more fun than Sam at least. And the kids like Uncle Tommy better as well. What will Sam think if he is ever freed and returns home?
Brothers asks lots of questions but doesn’t provide a lot of answers. The performances are very good, but I feel that the stars of this film have been let down by the script, which is at time a little boring and Jim Sheridan’s direction which is at times laboured, awkward and unsure. The end result is not pretty. It’s a bit of a mess. The scenes of torture in Afghanistan are harrowing, and the scenes of friendship and compassion in America are just slightly off. It’s a film that should be better. It’s not terrible by any means, it’s just not the tour de force for these three very talented young actors that it should have been. There are too many missed opportunities and the result is less satisfying than it perhaps deserves to be.