Brothers (2009)

(In French, On TV, May 2017) Let me tell you what a bad trailer is: A bad trailer spoils the movie so thoroughly that you can anticipate how it ends even eight years later. Now, I can’t account for the quirkiness of my brain given that it forgets when I’ve put my car keys while remembering a decade-old trailer for a mostly-forgotten movie, but the point is: I sat down to watch Brothers and kept waiting for that police confrontation scene … which comes at the end. It doesn’t help that the film is frankly dull, dealing with two brothers and what happens when one of them comforts the wife of the other while he’s missing and presumed dead in Afghanistan. You’d think that the question of whether the brother sleeps with the wife would be an interesting one, but Brothers is so limp and tedious that it’s a let-down when he doesn’t. From a narrative standpoint, there isn’t much to Brothers, making it feel even longer as the same plotlines are laboriously developed. It does fare batter as an acting showcase, given how it features Tobey Maguire in one of his most animated performances, the always-reliable Jake Gylenhaal as the problematic brother, and Nathalie Portman in a down-to-earth performance. Fans of straight-up drama will appreciate, although others may start eyeing their watches not long into the movie.

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