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Brothers Blu-Ray Review

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Brothers + Natalie PortmanBrothers, from acclaimed filmmaker Jim Sheridan, arrives on DVD and Blu-Ray next Tuesday, March 23, 2010. The movie explores the effects of war upon families, and is a remake of the 2004 Danish film Brodre. The results are mixed, as the movie treats audiences to some excellent performances but not much else. The Blu-Ray, meanwhile, doesn’t boast a whole lot of special features, but does provide some intriguing insights.

Tobey Maguire and Jake Gyllenhaal star as brothers Sam and Tommy, respectively. Sam is e a respected soldier who is being re-deployed to Afghanistan, Tommy a reckless ex-convict. While on mission, Sam’s helicopter is shot down. The Army subsequently reports him dead, and his wife Grace (Natalie Portman) is left to grieve with their two young daughters. Sensing a void, Tommy moves into their home to help around the house and keep the girls company; as time passes, the four grow closer to one another. However, as they move on, Sam is trapped in a Taliban cave, facing torture and interrogation. When he finally returns home, his mental instability leads to increased tensions between his family and his brother.

Brothers is a decent movie, but a drama that looked much more intense in the previews than it actually was. Its climax is disappointing and the movie itself feels like a cheap stage play at times. Nevertheless, the performances turned in by Gyllenhaal and especially Maguire are worthwhile (Maguire was nominated for Best Actor at the Golden Globes). You can read FilmJabber’s full Brothers movie review here.

The Blu-Ray includes only three bonus features:

  • Remade in the United States – this featurette looks at how Brothers came to be, based on Brodre. It includes some clips from the original movie to show how similar this new version is, and talks about what convinced Sheridan to adapt a pre-existing film. The featurette is pretty honest and the interview with Sheridan is especially interesting, as he candidly speaks about what interested him about this project.
  • Jim Sheridan: Film and Family – in this featurette, the cast and crew talk about how Sheridan approaches his movies. As Sheridan admits himself, he lacked much of a family growing up and believes that he subconsciously likes to re-create family dynamics in his pictures. Gyllenhaal, Portman and others provide some stories about how Sheridan interacted with them. All in all, this was a rather unique and worthwhile featurette.
  • A feature audio commentary with Jim Sheridan

Brothers isn’t a great movie, but it is worth a rental. What the special features lack in quantity they make up for in quality, and are worth checking out.

By Erik Samdahl
Related categories: DVD Releases, Movie Reviews
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