Monday, April 12, 2010

Brothers - DVD Review


Starring Tobey Maguire, Jake Gyllenhaal, Natalie Portman, Sam Shepard, Mare Winningham, Bailee Madison, Taylor Geare, Clifton Collins Jr., Jenny Wade, Patrick Flueger, Ethan Suplee and Carey Mulligan.
Directed by Jim Sheridan.

For every five war movies that come along to make the US worse than Saddam or the Taliban, one comes along that just deals with the war. This is one such movie, and it really feels like an adaptation of a stage play.

Tobey Maguire plays against type as a dedicated soldier going back for his fourth tour in Afghanistan. His brother, played by Jake Gyllenhaal, has just got out of jail. Two different brothers from two different worlds. While in Afghanistan, Maguire is mistakenly declared dead when he's actually been kidnapped by terrorists.

Back home, the other brother comforts the grieving widow (Natalie Portman) and her two daughters, and they grow close. Meanwhile Maguire is subjected to all the horrors of being a prisoner of terrorists.

Maguire makes it back home halfway through the movie, and it really then becomes a study of PTSD. How can he be a normal person again after what he went through? It's an acting showcase for Maguire, although I was more impressed by Gyllenhaal's subtle supporting work.

Side note: Jim Sheridan has proven between this and In America that he is the absolute best director at getting natural performances out of little girls, even when some of their lines are impossible.

Second side note: Mare Winningham is old enough to be Tobey Maguire's mother?! She was 16 when he was born.

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