Captain Sam Cahill (Maguire) is embarking on his fourth tour of duty, leaving behind his beloved wife (Portman) and two daughters. When Sam?s Blackhawk helicopter is shot down in the mountains of Afghanistan, the worst is ... more »presumed, leaving an enormous void in the family. Despite a dark history, Sam?s charismatic younger brother Tommy (Gyllenhaal) steps in to fill the family void.« less
Dallas C. from PHILADELPHIA, PA Reviewed on 2/12/2013...
Actually preferred this version to the Danish original. Good film!
1 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.
Jeremy A. from REISTERSTOWN, MD Reviewed on 3/24/2010...
An enjoyable movie. I was thrilled two find two important plot points that had been completely left out of the trailers.
2 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.
D.G. | USA | 02/05/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This ensemble cast delivered the goods and nailed each of their performances.
Tobey and Jake are very believable as brothers and Natalie was the true heart of this story as her beloved husband played by Tobey goes to a very dark place as a result of his experience in the war. All of the cast members were strong and made you really care about what happened to them.
I felt their happiness,pain and sadness.
Jim Sheridan the director is true to his style and storytelling theme about war and its effects on a marriage,family and forgiveness.
There was one scene with he and Natalie that reduced me to tears and that is not an easy thing to do, thus the five star rating which is well earned and deserved!"
Speaking from experience
Enid Hernandez | USA | 02/08/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I am currently deployed in Iraq, first duty and hopefully my last. My significant other came back home from Iraq and totally cam back as a different person. This movie is as real as it gets. Highly recommanded. A truly magificant movie. Oscar winners in my book especially Toby. Left me speechless, he was right on the money."
Craig Whittle | Phoenix, AZ | 03/14/2010
(3 out of 5 stars)
STARRING: Tobey Maguire, Natalie Portman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Sam Shepard, Bailee Madison, Taylor Geare, Patrick Flueger, Clifton Collins Jr., Ethan Suplee and Mare Winningham
WRITTEN BY: David Benioff; based on the screenplay Bodre by Susanne Bier and Anders Thomas Jensen
DIRECTED BY: Jim Sheridan Rated: R Genre: Drama Release Date: 04 December 2009
I have always wondered if maybe Tobey Maguire had a dark side to him, buried away, deep behind that charming Peter Parker smile. Now that I have seen his disturbing performance in Brothers; I know that he does.
He plays Capt. Sam Hill of the U.S. Marine Corps and he does it miraculously. At first everything seems to be ok with Sam. He has a wonderful wife and two beautiful kids; a strong relationship with his father and he loves and defends his brother. However, all of that is about to change.
We learn early on in the film that he is to be shipped off to Afghanistan. He is proud to be a Marine and is equally proud to go.
Just days before he leaves, his brother Tommy (Jake Gyllenhaal) is released from prison. We don't know why, but Sam's wife Grace (Natalie Portman) isn't very fond of him.
Their father Hank (Sam Shepard) agrees with Grace entirely. In his eyes, the two brothers are worlds apart. Sam is the saint and Tommy is the family screw-up. Having been a Marine himself, Hank respects Sam and constantly puts Tommy down for not being more like his brother. There are some very well acted scenes between the three of these Hollywood greats; particularly the first dinner scene when Tommy is released from prison.
It's not a hard sell at all to buy Gyllenhaal and Maguire as brothers. Several people over the years have commented on their similar looks; they have been mistaken for one-another; and at one point Gyllenhaal was rumored to be relieving Maguire in the Spider-Man franchise. Their on-screen chemistry is more than believable, so fans will enjoy their scenes together, as did I.
The plot thickens when Sam's chopper goes down and he and his crew are believed to be dead. We know from the trailers, the opening credits saying Tobey Maguire's name first and just common movie-goer knowledge, that he is not dead. If you haven't seen the trailers, relax; it's revealed to us right away that he is alive.
Himself and another soldier have in fact been captured by the Taliban and are brought to a secret hideout in the Afghan Mountains. Having done a tour of duty there myself, I can tell you that wherever they filmed this sequence is very close to the real deal.
Sam is an officer and his counterpart is an enlisted Private. He constantly reminds him of their differences in rank throughout all of their scenes together.
I found this annoying as I don't think that nine out of 10 soldiers would be that over-zealous about their rank in a situation like this, but there is always that one guy. And it does serve a purpose as Sam is very good at reading people and can see that this particular soldier is weak and will most likely not be able to handle whatever sadistic torture their captors have in store for them.
I found the scenes in Afghanistan to be the most entertaining portion of the film and there are several of them. Tobey Maguire does an amazing job in these scenes and will show you dimensions of himself that you have never seen before. He is driven to do things that a lot of people may say they would never do in that situation; but I don't think any of us ever really know what we are or aren't capable of until we are put into a certain situation. This film will really make you ask yourself what you would do if you were in Sam's shoes.
I'm displeased to report that the rest of the film was a letdown. The only positive thing I really took from the rest of it, were the amazing performances of all the actors. There wasn't a single person in this film that didn't bring every bit of what they had to offer to each and every scene. Even small characters were casted well and delivered excellent performances. I don't know how they got Clifton Collins Jr. to do the two or three tiny scenes that he was in; but they did and he brought an impressive performance with him.
Natalie Portman is as amazing as ever. She plays Grace so effortlessly and has great chemistry with the actors playing her family. In the scene where she receives the news of her husband's death, she goes from smiling to an absolute wreck without so much as a second going by.
I feel Jake Gyllenhaal was cheated out of some screen time in the film. You never really got to know his character as well as you should have. Regardless of this, he still does a knock-out job with it anyway.
The same goes for Sam Shepard. I felt like this character should have had either a bigger part in the story or a smaller one. With an actor like Sam Shepard, the answer better be bigger. We get absolutely no closure from his character's issues in the film.
Scenes seem poorly edited and at times, too glamorized for this film. I feel like a lot of them were too bright and didn't fit well with the dark tones of the film as a whole.
The most disappointing piece of the film was the romance between Tommy and Grace. I kept waiting for there to be this moment where they fall in love for each other and have a secret affair; but it never happens. They have one intimate moment where they share a kiss and both of them seem to regret it instantly and it is never brought up again; because right after it they discover Sam is still alive.
I was expecting this huge love triangle to unfold. I think that based on the trailer and the poster alone, most would agree with me in thinking this is what was going to happen. There was opportunity after opportunity for there to be moments between them. Then when the romance never comes you are left wondering `what was the point of those scenes then?' Take the scene where she leaves in the middle of the night to go and pick Tommy up from the bar; or the idea of him offering to rebuild her kitchen for her. These are classic set-up scenes for a romance to ensue, and there is nothing!
I get the feeling that the filmmakers' intentions were not to have the over-done love triangle, and instead let it all be in Sam's head. For some, this may be a pleasant aspect of the film. I can even appreciate the originality in that; it's just that I kept expecting these other things to happen and when they didn't, I was disappointed.
I thought there would be hot and forbidden sex scenes; followed by the heart-throbbing suspense of them trying to cover it up, as they realize they are still in love even after Sam is back in the picture.
What we get instead is Sam returning and being wacked out of his frigging mind from the trauma he experienced over there. He is deathly thin and this adds a great deal to him being creepy. His children are afraid of him and his wife looks at him as if he is another man altogether.
Rather than the suspense, we just get what I would call annoying drama. Sam flat out confronts Tommy about sleeping with his wife, and Tommy never once denies having done so. Well no wonder the poor guy continues to think that something is going on!
As if that wasn't bad enough, one of Sam's daughters is so distraught that her daddy isn't the same anymore, she screams at him and tells him that her mother and Tommy have sex all the time. She yells this in front of everyone at the dinner table, and neither Grace nor Tommy says anything to comfort Sam by assuring him, this is untrue. Had it happened, this would have been a little bit more tolerable; but it didn't! Nothing happened! So why wouldn't either of them say something to deny it?
As far as I'm concerned, there was no justification for the daughter to act that way in the first place. There wasn't enough suspense of her daddy being frightening and different that would have caused her to do this. It seemed like two or three scenes between the two of them had been deleted and made it play-out wrong.
It's not a bad movie; just not what I had anticipated and looked forward to it being, nor is it what it could have easily been. I'm sure a lot of people will still enjoy it. In the meantime, to hold me over until another film delivers hot steamy romance mixed with suspense and a classic love triangle; I suppose I can watch Pearl Harbor again."
Good But Not Gripping Like I Expected; Actors Give It Their
carol irvin | United States | 02/04/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is one of those times that I wish Amazon let us use half stars as I think this is more 3.5 stars than 4 full ones. I have not seen the Danish film and now I wish I had. This is because I just read here that in the Danish movie, the wife does start an affair with her brother-in-law. This film lost a lot of its punch when the director shied away from letting that happen in the American remake. As a result, it's as if someone punctured the air out of the movie past the halfway point. This should be a very taut, sharp drama throughout , which I suspect he Danish one is. The American one simply cannot sustain the same tension when the guts were removed from the script. The actors are very good, both the brothers and the wife. I think they make the best of what they've got. So the problem must be that director Jim Sheridan was worried about losing audience if he kept the film as stark as the Danish version (that a film is Scandinavian and stark borders on redundancy). This almost always happens in American remakes. We seem to do better when we use our own original source material."
Steven J. Bond | 01/29/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I loved this movie. It instantly became one of my top 5 ever. Some of the films most intense moments are some of the most intense I've ever seen. Tobey Maguire deserves an oscar for this. Some critics have been saying that this movie is more of a melodrama than the original, but I would greatly disagreee. Great acting from all involved (including the dad) and terrific writing. After I saw it, I couldn't stop thinking about it the rest of the week. Highly recommended."