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  • dromasca19 August 2016
    Warning: Spoilers
    This may be the first Czech film that I see in 40 years. The occasion is the Czech film festival hold in my city (and several other Cinematheques) in Israel. The good news are that the Czech cinema seems to be alive and doing quite well, an observation which I hope will be confirmed by the other two films that I plan to see in the coming weeks.

    'The Snake Brothers' directed by Jan Prusinovský has an atmosphere and an intrigue which is quite typical for much of the cinema issued in the last 25 years in the former communist countries. It tells the story of two brothers and their friends in a small city in the Czech republic trying to meet ends in a world that changed the rules without adapting the economic infrastructure but especially without replacing the old set of rigid moral patterns with something that can provide a goal in life. It is however much more than another story of survival in the Wild East of the New Europe. The two brothers - one hard working and with some entrepreneurial spirit, the other smelling pure trouble in all he does and hurting everybody around in order to feed his drugs addiction - represent a modern incarnation of the Cain and Abel couple, at least apparently. As the very well written story develops we understand the things are not necessarily what they seem to be. Then end is one of the bests I have recently seen in movies, and makes you think about the fate of the characters long after the film is over, and gives a new sense (almost ad literam) to the old 'deus ex machina' expression. Accomplishment is often based on somebody else's tragedy - but can this really be a source of happiness? You will find yourself asking this question after screening is over.

    There is much more to be said about the quality of this film. Director Prusinovský is surprisingly at his first long feature independent film on big screens. His previous work was all TV-related, but maybe some of the accuracy in reading the psychology of the characters reflects this experience. He is strongly supported by a team of superb actors including the (real) brothers Matej Hádek and Krystof Hádek who bring to life the small Czech city landscape. 'The Snake Brothers' is a (good) film about the troubled times part of Europe goes through, but is also much more than that.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Superior acting and writting skills will keep you on the edge of your seat till the very surprising ending. This is a realistic portrait of post-communist country little hope it has to offer for youngsters that came from dysfunctional family. Well not much to desire yet it will draw you in. There are several struggles going on here as the audience can relate to at least one of the common one, which is, you do not choose your own family yet we feel obligation from society to stick to our family even if toxic. Gaining independence and show compassion is the constant pull that can bring one down instead help to succeed. The best part of this movie is that it shows you the toxic pull resulting in dysfunctional reaction, vicious cycle of unhealhty relationships.
  • All aspects of this movie are average at best, which sends the effort of seasoned authors into the realms of desperate mediocrity. The outcome is a bundle of rather incoherent sketches, that leave a mild smile on your face that soon vaporises along with a rather hazy memory of the movie as a whole. And in a week's time you might be asking yourself, what was it all about? Where your chum might remind you of an entertaining front-seat self-abuse scene. Indeed a quality farce for medieval peasants it is. If you hope for more, you could be disappointed. To make my review eligible, I am asked to pad the text with junk words. I am sure the authors meant well. But I also believe, the thought or the intended absence of the same lies at the heart of any art piece. Usually this thought serves as a building ground for the story. Trying to make a story, though entertaining, in hope that the absence of the ground will not be palpable or the audience will make up one of their own, is quite naive and a sure recipe for a disaster. Also one would expect this kind of approach in a prepubescent author, rather than a mature experienced one. Let us hope their next endeavor will be better prepared and exercised. For their own benefit, as uncanny support of mass-media can help only so much
  • I felt empathy and fear with a sense of unavoidable collisions as the film follows the lives of two brothers in the Czech Republic. The adult siblings carry the scars of their upbringing by a mother who gave up on providing any emotional support.

    The story unfolds in a mid size Czech town where the brothers are well known in the working class community as they drift aimlessly. The younger brother suffers from a mental illness, moving from one theft to another to feed his drug addiction. His older brother usually bails him out but there is a fine line between unconditional love and loathing. They make instinctive choices and you just have the feeling that they are heading towards trouble. When confronted with a calamity, you don't know if they will affirm the principles of a family sticking together.

    The gritty acting is excellent, with a realistic dialog and subtle touches that really convey the atmosphere. It is a comedy, a love story, a social drama that exposes many emotions, moral dilemmas and provokes many questions.

    Well worth watching.