An HE reader saw Jim Sheridan‘s Brothers, which I briefly discussed yesterday. I asked him to elaborate and he did, but I found his claim that Tobey Maguire‘s performance is the “revelation” as opposed to Jake Gyllenhaal and Natalie Portman‘s, whose performances he described as “sweet.”
Maguire plays the solid, responsible, hard-wired husband-father who’s captured by the bad guys during a skirmish in Afghanistan and is thereafter presumed dead; Gyllenhaal plays his younger, irresponsible, substance-abusing brother who gradually begins to take Maguire’s place with his bereaved wife (Portman) and the kids. (There were two girls in Suzanne Bier‘s 2004 original, or so I recall.)
“Teeem” claims to have attended a test screening at Sony a month ago. “I also saw [Bier’s] original Brothers a year ago, [after which] Sheridan himself questioned the audience for feedback about what they liked and didn’t like, what would work better, etc. That’s why i was especially interested in seeing what he did with it. He ignored or couldn’t work in my comment to him about the KIA/MIA problem, which was also in the original.
“I felt the original was a bit weak, reminding me of Things We Lost in the Fire. I did fall in love with Connie Nielsen, but didn’t buy the military character as portrayed by the lead from The Celebration, which I absolutely loved.
“Jake and Portman were sweet; Sam Shepard adds a small but interesting motivation that i don’t remember from the other version; Tobey is the revelation.”