16 February 2010 | cl777
Loyalty, love, faithfulness, duty, pain, grief. Well above average but not outstanding
Brothers, starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Natalie Portman and Tobey Maguire, is an interesting and profound drama about family values, war, and relationships. The acting is fantastic. I had hardly heard of this movie despite its all star cast so it was a pleasant surprise for me.
As the title implies, it is about two brothers, portrayed by Gyllenhaal and Maguire, whose lives have taken them to different sides of the tracks- Jake's character has recently been released from jail and Tobey is a devoted family and army man. Natalie Portman plays his lovely wife. When Tobey is sent away to Afghanistan and rapidly presumed dead, the plot thickens.
Back at home, with everybody trying to cope and go on with their lives, nothing will ever be the same. I will not write any more on the subject because although I found what happens next very predictable, you should still guess for yourselves.
The entire cast plays superbly. Tobey undergoes a massive physical transformation and looks completely emaciated as he depicts the mental decline of someone who has lived through too much horror. He shows us the mental destruction caused by war and his metamorphosis is truly scary at times. Jake is really excellent as his sincere brother, torn between passion and brotherly love, guilt and devotion. The two young girls who play Tobey and Natalie's daughters were very impressive and are earning lots of praise.
The supporting characters are less developed and the father seems to have just two states of emotion- praise and admiration for his army son and disdain for the ex-convict. This is the downside that I saw in Brothers- that it tended to oversimplify many issues and too often contented itself with merely scratching the surface. For instance, though I have never been in a war so I cannot say for sure, the Taliban scenes seemed fake to me.
Loyalty, love, faithfulness, duty, pain, grief, sorrow, joy. All of these are present in this well above average but not outstanding film.
My rating: 8 Fabio's: 7.5 Total score: 15.5 Please read more reviews at http://paulinasmovies.blogspot.com