Brothers - Jim Sheridan
I feel sorry for both of these actors, Tobey Maguire and Jake Gyllenhaal. They will forever be known for one role, well maybe not, I can’t see into the future, but right now, it seems that the roles that have next won’t be as big as these. Maybe Jake will with Prince of Persia, but I don’t see it being as successful as Spider-Man. But both of these actors are a-grade performers, people who are at the top of their game, ones who can carry films, people who when you think of movie icons, these are the current generation. And with Brothers, you can see why they have their acting accolades, not just in action films, but emotionally serious drama pieces. Both actors perform here out of their skin. It’s one of these films that might fall out of public eye for a little eye, but it will be one of those that are a turning point for both actors. The casting was perfect. The relationships are believable. I’m a massive fan of Natalie Portman, so nothing bad to say about her in the film. Nothing!
The film follows Sam and Tommy, brothers, one in the military who is stationed to Afghanistan and the other recently coming out of prison. After Sam’s helicopter crashes whilst out on duty, he is presumed dead, and Sam’s wife, played by Natalie Portman, Grace is devastated by the news. Tommy begins to become closer to the family and help around the house. He gets closer to the children too, and of course Grace. The cheeky scoundrel. Whilst Tommy and Grace become close, Sam meanwhile, taken hostage by a group of terrorists, experience horror and starvation. In the end, Sam is found by American troops but his scars are seen and his behaviour changes. The film suddenly turns from being a strange romantic comedy with Jake Gyllenhaal and Natalie Portman and turns into an aggressive statement on war and the effect it has on the soldiers when they return. Maguire plays it to a tie; his attitude to change his body weight in order to make the role more believable adds another dimension to it. Compared to say, Christian Bale in The Machinist and the weight loss there, it’s not the same, it’s not as noticeable, but Maguire still has a very mean look about him. It’s differentiates between the loveable rogue of Gyllenhaal’s character and Sam, who at the beginning of the film plays like Peter Parker.
Overall, a solid film with good performances, it’s not for one for the lists of films of the year, but it’s a great start for the actors to become used to having the awards poured over them.