The film watching continues, I’ve written more film reviews in the last couple of days than I’ve written in the last 6 months! No doubt you all are blessed. Just started looking for random films to watch and I came across Brothers with Tobey Maguire and Jake Gyllenhaal, I remembered it as being a film I was interested in seeing at the cinema but never got around to it. Having just watching it I’m angry with myself for not going to see it at the cinema.
This film is quite possibly Tobey Maguire’s greatest performance, is this really the same actor that starred in Spiderman? The ever so calm Peter Parker? This film shows the range of Maguire’s acting ability and I’m very glad I decided to finally watch it.
Story; The story starts off with Sam (Maguire) getting ready to go back to Afghanistan to fight in the never ending “War on Terror”, his two daughters and his wife are begging him not to go back but this mans no quitter, at the same time his brother Tommy (Gyllenhaal) is released from prison which we learn was a result of a bank robbery.
They all have a family dinner with the brothers’ parents, the father obviously has tension with Tommy and several altercations are had. Soon after Sam finally gets shipped back out to war. While he’s gone Tommy has Sam’s wife (Portman) come get him from a bar for being drunken and disorderly.
While in a helicopter, Sam is blown out of the sky by terrorists and he and his men crash land. Only him and a private survive as they’re captured by the enemy, Sam tells the private that it’s just he and him now, they have no family, he tells him not to tell them anything no matter what. They’re trying to make the soldiers confess on camera that they shouldn’t be in their country, Sam refuses to do it however the private isn’t so immune to torture as his captain and does what they want him to.
While he’s gone his family is told that he was killed in action, the army not knowing that Sam survived, after this news Tommy begins getting his life together to help out Sam’s wife and his two nieces’, the two begin getting close, even kissing at one stage but it never went further than that. They just became really good friends.
Sam is constantly tortured but refuses to give in, eventually he’s that messed up mentally due to the torture and the starvation that he’s given a choice, to either kill his comrade or be killed himself, he is given a pole, he drops it, they put a gun to his head and tell him that if he doesn’t kill the private he will be killed and will never see his family again. Finally he snaps and does what he is told, soon after a NATO attack on where he’s being held is executed and he’s finally rescued. He’s sent home to see his family and instantly thinks somethings been going off between his wife and his brother, he asks his brother straight out “Did you fuck her?” but despite being told constantly that he hadn’t he grows more paranoid.
His daughters begin to grow distant from him due to his behavior, taking out his frustration over what he did to his fellow soldier on his family; even the Private’s now alone wife thanks him for being with him and you can almost sense his pain. That psychosis grows and grows until he finally loses his shit completely, threatening to shoot his brother, then himself.
Capt. Sam Cahill (Tobey Maguire) - Just watching this guys evolution of insanity and hatred throughout this film is amazing, this is quite possibly Maguire’s greatest performance, you could tell in his facial expressions that he was slowly becoming more and more insane, paranoid and bitter as time went on. Few actors put on a convincing performance like this one and Maguire did himself very proud. How he didn’t win an award for this role is beyond me. Very well done I’d say.
Tommy Cahill (Jake Gyllenhaal) – I’ve seen a lot of Jake’s work and I’ve always thought he was a good actor, he was great in this too, as the brother that’s trying to do what’s right for his family and get his life back in order. You can tell that he’s absolutely smitten with Portman’s character and all most feel sorry for him when Maguire makes it home, however he manages to move past it and is happy to have his brother back. His journey is almost as important as Maguire’s.
Grace Cahill (Natalie Portman) – Naturally we all know Portman’s a great actress and she’s a hot piece of ass which is never a bad thing! I saw her most recently in Thor and the performance she gave in that is not even close to this film. It always amazes me how women can turn on the water works so well, but the water works were definitely in full swing in this film and played her part very well.
There’s a few recognizable faces in this film such as Sam Shepard who plays the father of the two brothers, who I recently saw in Swordfish, who knew. He can relate to Maguire’s character in that he was exactly the same way when he came back from ‘Nam and took it out on his family just as Sam Cahill did when he returned home. Then there’s Clifton Collins Jr. who I’ve always liked in whatever films/tv shows I see him pop up in, most recently in the short lived The Event and even Ethan Suplee of My Name Is Earl makes an appearance!
Overall Rating; In my personal opinion all three main stars of this film played their roles excellently I couldn’t find one flaw in this film, not for one moment was I bored, it had the right amount of drama, the right amount of comedy and the perfect amount of emotion. My only complaint is I wanted to see more I was that enthralled with the film and it would have been easy for it to have been stretched longer if only to see more of Maguire in Afghanistan getting tortured and watching him suffer. I cannot believe this film didn’t generate more money at the box office, but I suppose you’d have to be in the mood for this type of film. I’d definitely recommend it to anyone if only just to see Maguire totally lose his mind towards the end of the film! 9/10