Writer: Sivarasa SothivadivelWriter Ratings:Overall: Cast: Plot: Effects: Cinematography: Watch this if you liked:
“Pearl Harbor”, “Brødre”, “Atonement”
Wartime family melodrama comes to blows in Jim Sheridan's remake of Susanne Bier's "Brødre" (2004). Both these directors have made some pretty impressive emotionally-charged films e.g. Sheridan with "In The Name Of The Father" (1993) and Bier with "After The Wedding" so it comes as no surprise then that this is a comfortable Americanisation of the Danish original, especially with the outstanding turns by its three main leads Jake Gyllenhaal, Tobey Maguire and Natalie Portman.
"Brothers" make the back-from-the-dead soldier dilemma you saw in "Pearl Harbor" look tame, when Ben Affleck returned to find his best friend Josh Hartnett and his bride Kate Beckinsale a new item! This is still a very mainstream approach in discussing the emotional after-horrors of war but like Sheridan's other works, there is a level of intimacy in his films that you don't normally find in big pictures that star popular actors.
Here, the remarkable acting by Jake Gyllenhaal as an ex-con loverboy and Natalie Portman as the embattled housewife is only superceded by Tobey Maguire as a model Marine, husband and father who descends into a PTS hell after witnessing some pretty nasty stuff in Afghanistan. This gnarling display of psychotic paranoia by a guy we know as friendly Spidey has earned him a deserved Golden Globe nomination. He even starved himself to look so thin for the role! Child actors Bailee Madison and Taylor Grace Geare who play the daughters also turn in an above average performance that is indicative of just how much Sheridan wanted to get this right.
You can look forward to Sheridan's upcoming picture, "Emerald City", about the Irish-run criminal underworld in Hell's Kitchen, New York City. Meanwhile, nobody will ever mess with Tobey Maguire again.Cinema Online, 03 March 2010