Brothers Blu-ray Review
Screenwriter David Benioff (The 25th Hour) didn’t have to do much to relocate Brothers from Denmark to America. The story remains the same: Captain Sam Cahill (Tobey Maguire) loves his family, but he’s equally devoted to his career. Just as his ne’er-do-well brother, Tommy (Jake Gyllenhaal), exits prison, where he did time for robbery, the Marines deploy Sam to Afghanistan. Tommy starts looking in on his wary sister-in-law, Grace (Natalie Portman), but then Sam’s helicopter crashes in the mountains, and the military informs Grace that her husband has died. Unbeknownst to the Cahill clan, the Taliban has taken Sam hostage and tortures him to elicit information. Sam resists, but his colleague caves, leading to an unthinkable act. Back in New Mexico, Grace and Tommy grow closer, stopping just short of a full-blown affair (in Susanne Bier’s original, they take the plunge). Even Tommy’s disapproving Vietnam vet father, Hank (Sam Shepard), sees his son in a new light after Tommy renovates Grace’s kitchen. But when Sam is rescued by his company, he returns a broken man and is convinced that his wife has fallen in love with his brother. Even his daughters are afraid of him (Bailee Madison impresses as the eldest). As in Bier’s film, Jim Sheridan (In America) elevates redemption and forgiveness over tragedy and loss, and his well-meaning remake gets off to a solid start, but it loses steam by the end. Brothers offers a compelling scenario, but the telling is too overstated to capture the full heartbreak of the situation.
Audio: DTS-HD MA lossless 5.1 mix
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
Disc Spec: 1 BD25
“Brothers” was directed by Jim Sheridan, director of “Get Rich or Die Tryin'” in 2005 and is based on the motion picture “Brødre” from Denmark. The story is about two brothers, Tommy and Sam played by Tobey Maguire and Jake Gyllenhaal. Sam is the good son, a marine deployed to Afghanistan and Tommy has always been a bit of a screw-up and just got out of jail. While Sam is gone, Tommy attempts to take care of Sam’s wife, Grace played by Natalie Portman and their daughters.
At this point, the film takes a “Pearl Harbor” turn and Sam is announced dead to his family back home from a crash, but the audience knows he’s actually been taken as a P.O.W. The grief and Tommy’s great playfulness with the children brings Tommy and Grace closer together to try to build back the broken family. Until one day when Sam returns home.
If you haven’t seen this movie, do not watch the trailer first, go in blind. The trailer really emphasizes the few moments of heightened tension in the film and makes it sound like this really intense nonstop drama. In truth, most of this movie is spent with long quiet sad looks and adorable children playing. The overall film was a result felt underwhelming from what I was expecting. I would not call this film boring though. What kept me interested were the individual performances.
Tobey Maguire has really picked a good role here with Captain Sam Cahill. In the beginning of the movie, he’s a loving father and husband and when he smiles he looks just like Peter Parker with a military crew cut. After being put through the physical and emotional torture of imprisonment, he comes back a damaged man projecting his turmoil on everyone around him. His post-traumatic stress is always simmering under the surface and really comes to a boil near the end in a powerful scene where he screams at his wife about how much he loves her while waving a gun around.
Movie Content: 9/10
The print is presented in 1080p/MPEG-4 with a 2.40:1 aspect ratio. The print looks very good throughout without any apparent issues. Colors are vibrant and carry pop which brings out the fine details. The detailed scenes stand out very well. Blacks are deep. I found the print to be crystal clear with no artifacts or print damage. The darker look and feel of the film looks great with the appropriate lighting making this film standout.
Video Quality: 9/10
The audio is presented in DTS-HD MA lossless 5.1 mix. This is not an audio mix that you will go in expecting huge things from the soundfield as it is primarily a dialogue driven film. Dialogue was well balanced through the center channel. The times where there were action scenes, the soundfield felt very immersive.
Audio Quality: 9/10
- Audio Commentary with Jim Sheridan [HD]
- Remade in the USA: How Brodre Became Brothers [HD]
- Jim Sheridan: Film and Family [HD]
Special Features: 7/10
It is a serious look at the need to care for our soldiers, for their families, and not allow this cycle to continue into the next generations. It has a few forced moments, but the overall affect is more thought-provoking than I expected. This is a film that will keep you glued to your TV from start to finish.
Overall Rating: 8/10