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Brothers (2004)

Cast: Connie Nielsen, Connie Nielsen, Ulrich Thomsen, more...
Director: Susanne Bier, Susanne Bier
    see all cast/crew...
Studio: Universal Studios
Genre: Drama, Foreign, Scandinavia
Running Time: 117 min.
Languages: Danish
Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
    see additional details...

Two brothers unwittingly exchange roles under the fog of war in this powerful drama. Michael (Ulrich Thomsen) and Jannick (Nikolaj Lie Kaas) are two brothers who have always meshed as well as oil and water. Michael is a caring husband and father who risen to the rank of major in the Danish Army, while Jannick is an alcoholic with a violent streak who has been in and out of prison much of his life. Jannick has just been released after serving time for armed robbery when Michael learns he's being sent to Afghanistan; Jannick quarrels with both Michael and his parents at a going-away dinner, which does nothing to endear him to Michael's wife, Sarah (Connie Nielsen). However, when Sarah receives word that Michael's helicopter has been shot down and the crew has gone missing, Jannick tries to assume some degree of familial responsibility, helping Sarah with the children and helping to keep the house in repair. As the months roll on, Jannick finds that family life agrees with him; he cuts back on his drinking, gets a job, and grows increasingly fond of Sarah, who also takes a liking to her brother-in-law's new style. However, as Jannick finally grows into a responsible adult, he and Sarah learn that Michael has been released from an Afghan military prison and is being sent home. As Sarah and Jannick come to terms with their feelings for one another, they are disturbed by Michael's new presence; after several hellish months in captivity, he's become an angry and emotionally broken man, who is haunted by ugly memories and suspects his wife and brother of betrayal. ~ Mark Deming, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

Overdose by talltale September 27, 2005 - 4:54 PM PDT
4 out of 4 members found this review helpful
BROTHERS really piles it on, plot-wise, trauma-wise and otherwise. Winner of the 2005 Sundance "Audience Award," it does make me wonder who the audience was (or what state of intoxication they might have found themselves). The movie flopped theatrically here in the US, and while this is true of many films that don't deserve such a fate, I'd say this melodrama--intricately plotted to wreak every last dramatic twist, turn and, of course, tears--is really a load of junk.

All the good acting on view from Connie Nielsen, Ulrich Thomsen, Nikolaj Lie Kaas and the rest of the cast just makes it even more of a disappointment. Rather than feeling the full range of emotions that it seems apparent filmmaker Susanne Bier wants viewers to experience during (and especially at the close of) the film, I simply felt manipulated--in surprisingly predictable ways.

Perhaps this is because I've also seen this writer/director's earlier "Open Hearts," which kept me going despite some problems for its entire length. Now that I've seen her new one--which has similar tendencies swelled to greater proportions--it's time for a re-think. But probably not a re-view.

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 6.85)
20 Votes
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Reviewed on Show Me Your Titles film podcast
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Indianapolis International Film Festival
Films that showed at the Indianapolis International Film Festival - which began in 2004

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