BROTHERS Blu-ray Review

     March 29, 2010

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If someone ever has the balls to do a remake of Taxi Driver, Tobey Maguire would make a great Travis Bickle. His performance as Sam in Jim Sherdian’s film Brothers proves that the man who was once Spider-Man has got a disturbing and venomous side.

Maguire’s dark performance is the best thing going this just okay remake of a 2004 Danish film of the same name. Both follow a small town family with one son just getting out of prison, the other going to war, and both of whom end up in love with the same woman. We’re happy to report, that even if Brothers isn’t a spectacular film, it’s not quite the movie its marketing makes it out to be and the Blu-ray will be a treat for fans of Sheridan and the original film.  Hit the jump read more about the film and disc itself.

brothers_movie_image_tobey_maguire_01.jpgIn Brothers, Tobey Maguire plays Sam, a high school sports star who married a cheerleader named Grace (Natalie Portman), had two daughters and became a Marine Corps captain. The film opens with Sam picking up his brother Tommy (Jake Gyllenhaal) from jail just in time for Sam to go back to Afghanistan. There, Sam’s helicopter is shot down, he’s presumed dead and his Tommy ends up taking care of his family. Meanwhile, the film plods on, cutting between Tommy and Grace’s budding relationship and Sam’s terrible experiences as a prisoner of war. Because the movie wouldn’t be called Brothers if Sam didn’t eventually come home, much of the tension in the meat of the film is gone. However, Sam’s POW experiences are chilling.

Besides the performances, which are strong across the board, the film does surprise with its lack of sexuality. From the advertising it seemed like a no brainer that Tommy would sleep with Grace and that would be the main conflict when Sam returned. That’s not exactly how it plays out, though, to the audiences’ surprise. Still, the film’s message about post-traumatic stress disorder isn’t anything new. We’ve seen it all before, just to a lesser degree. And the more rewarding relationships, such as between the kids and the parents, aren’t as fully developed as one would like.

The Blu-ray itself isn’t bare bones, but it certainly doesn’t give the viewer as much as other discs. There’s a commentary by Jim Sheridan, a documentary on Jim Sheridan and how the film plays into his themes of family (themes that are present in all of his films) and a really cool documentary on how and why Brothers was even made in the first place called: “Remade in the USA: How Brodre Became Brothers.” It’s only about 12 minutes long but seeing a US remake pay tribute to its source material in such a way is refreshing and a great addition to the disc. The picture quality is solid and the soundtrack is fine, though there is only one or two really sound heavy sequences.

Brothers is certainly worth a watch for the performances and dark places the story goes, just don’t let the incredible names involved raise your expectations too high. A great rental, a buy only if you are a Sheridan completest.

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