Friday, December 4, 2009
"Brothers" is a remake of a 2004 Danish film of the same name. All I have to go on is the US version but since the Producer said "Really the only difference is Natalie Portman's character has a larger part in this film." then that's what I'm going to believe until I view the original.
The film started out a bit simple for me. Yes we need character development but I did feel like the first 5 minutes of the film lacked a bit of an impact for me. Especially with Toby Maguire playing a father. That was a bit fake to me. But what I think happens through out the rest of the film more then makes up for his lack of fatherly strength at the beginning.
Maguire finally pulls off a dramatic role and I enjoyed him in this part. I see how he has grown as an actor and definitely how this role changed him for the better. For the last 20 minutes of the film, I found myself waiting for him to explode at any moment. It was quite intense and he deserves all the praise he is receiving.
Natalie Portman shines in this role. She does play a young mother and is quite convincing at it. I never once thought "this doesn't work". She is an actress that I'm happy to share a generation with and who has not let me down in any role she's had since "The Professional". I believe she is being overlooked because of Maguire's challenging role but I saw the subtlety in many of her actions which is just as hard as what Maguire had to do for his role.
Jake Gyllenhaal has a descent role playing against Maguire's 'perfect' image. Gyllenhaal is for once not cast as a pretty boy saving the world or a down and out twentysomething, trying to find his way. He emerges as a great opposite for Maguire and shows his strength in transitioning from 'bad apple' to strong supporting family member.
Though the Producer made it a point to say to the audience "This film isn't about war, it's about love." I do not agree with that sentence entirely. The only reason this film works is because of Maguire's storyline. If he wasn't in the military then his actions toward the end of the film would be pointless.
I must say there is one moment that Maguire is yelling at Portman saying "Do you know what I had to do for you? Do you know?" Now this is a pivotal point in the film, but his character never says anything indicating the actions he takes in Afghanistan are all done for his wife. I'm assuming it was supposed to be implied but I felt that his actions where more about his survival, then his need to get home to his wife. So, in that moment, I feel like the script, or story could have used a more complete showing of his feelings for his wife and kids.
But it's a simple thing that can be overlooked if you are an average movie watcher who finds yourself wrapped in the story and not looking for things to pull it apart.
I believe the film is solid. I'm sure that any fans of these actors will enjoy it. Any one in the military or families of military will enjoy the film. It my drag out horrible memories or even make you think, what if, but over all the film is good.
opens December 4th (wide release)