Brothers tells pretty much the same story as Pearl Harbor, except it’s set against the background of the war in Afghanistan, and there’s better acting and not quite such terrible dialogue. And there are no decent action sequences.
Bafflingly, Tobey Maguire – who looks far too young and, frankly, short to be a high school quarterback turned heroic marine captain – gets the Ben Affleck part as the all-round good guy who goes away to war and is reported dead, although really he’s missing in action.
For some reason, his wife (Natalie Portman) and family are told he’s definitely dead, which is quite an administrative oversight, though no one refers to it when he comes back to life, as if it’s not that important.
While Tobey’s away being tortured by the Taliban, who have obviously been inspired by screenings of The Deer Hunter, his beautiful young wife, a former cheerleader, is being romanced by his ne’er- do-well brother (Jake Gyllenhaal), who is such a bad guy he has a tattoo on his neck.
Actually, Jake being the star and all, he comes across as a really nice chap, good with his absent brother’s children, a handyman about the house, and much better lit than his brother ever was. Natalie’s meant to hate him at first, but kisses him when he remodels her kitchen units and they discover their mutual love of U2. No, I didn’t believe it either.
All the actors try hard to invest their wafer-thin characters with some vestige of depth – especially Sam Shepard as the boys’ patriotic, alcoholic dad – but they are such corny creations that no part of the story rings true.
The plot pivots on a guilty secret that Tobey brings home from Afghanistan, but the behaviour he is mortally ashamed of is so out of character, and so imposed upon him by the bearded bad guys, that it carries less weight and conviction than it should.
Brothers isn’t terrible, and if you’ve never seen a movie about a returning war veteran before, it may even hold some surprises. But Jim Sheridan’s plodding direction and the miscasting of Maguire mean that it looks too much like glossy melodrama to involve many people’s emotions.
Rendez?: Jim Sheridan
Forgatókönyv: David Benioff, Susanne Bier, Anders Thomas Jensen.
Szerepl?k: Jake Gyllenhaal, Natalie Portman, Tobie Maguire.
Id?: 105 perc
Magyarországi bemutató: 2010. március 4.
sequence – képsor, sorozat, folytatás
bafflingly – érthetetlenül, zavarba ejt?en
marine captain – (hadi)tengerészeti kapitány
oversight – elnézés, tévedés
all-round good boy – sokoldalú jófiú
handyman – ezermester
wafer-thin – ostya-vékony
vestige of depth – mélység emléke (nyoma)
to pivot on – forog valami körül
plodding – fárasztó, nehéz munka, gürcölés
glossy – édeskés, behízelg?
Tobey Maguire and Jake Gyllenhaal play the brothers in this film. Maguire nearly had to decline the lead role in Spider-Man 2 (2004) due to back injuries, and Gyllenhaal was the top choice to replace him.