I sware if my brother ever did this, his ass would be grass.
When severely traumatized Capt. Sam Cahill (Tobey Maguire) returns home alive from a military mission in Afghanistan after he was presumed dead, he learns that his brother, Tommy (Jake Gyllenhaal), has gotten dangerously close to his grieving wife, Grace (Natalie Portman), and his kids.
The one thing to note about this film is that the trailer is totally misleading. You think the movie is just about this soldier that dies, and the soldiers brother and his wife have a so-called “affair”, then he comes back and all hell breaks loose. Well that is kind of it, but its also more about the post-dramatic stress war has on some people.
The film is a character study of these three peeps, directed by Jim Sheridan, who has directed Daniel Day-Lewis films, My Left Foot, and The Boxer, while also randomly directing 50 Cent’s Get Rich Or Die Tryin’. He directs this film with little indie motives, but focuses the film more on the relationship all these people have with each other. I feel like the film got a little too depressing at points, which also added to the very slow pace, that at times felt excruciating. Though, when Maguire comes back from supposed “death” the scenes with him are so uncomfortable and tense that it adds a lot to the film.
The writing in this movie is so-so, mostly because of the way it was structured. I feel like the film started becoming over dramatic almost every scene after another. Also, it happens too fast. We never really get to see these two brothers to actually interact with one another to get a full sense of their relationship and who they are to each other. When Maguire comes back and accuses them of cheating on one another, not once does any of them say “No. We did not have sex”. Instead, they just choose to sit back and let him go crazy, even while he’s wielding around a gun.
The saving grace of this film has to go out to the performances from the cast. I think Gyllenhaal did a good job here, cause he wasn’t trying to be one of those ultimately charming performances that you don’t believe, but instead he plays a character that you can actually believe with still enough charm. Natalie Portman was disappointing as Grace, and I think she just looks way too much like a baby sitter, than a grieving, war soldier mom. She looked too good, and her emotions just didn’t seem genuine enough. The best thing about this movie is mostly because of Tobey Maguire. I mean he has been type casted as Peter Parker for so long, its actually refreshing to see him let out his skills, and let me tell you one thing, he does. When he leaves for war, he is as sweet as Peter Parker, but when he comes back, he is as sweet as Peter Parker when he had that black stuff all over him, and a lot skinnier. He is amazing, riveting, and overall believable, causing one of the biggest freak-outs in all of cinema history.
Consensus: Brothers has a terrific performance from Maguire and a riveting story at points, but doesn’t convey enough of emotions it could have, an unreliable trailer, and a direction that at times felt inspired, and also messy.