December 8, 2009 by  



Tobey Maguire and Jake Gyllenhaal star in "Brothers."

Starring: Tobey Maguire, Natalie Portman, Jake Gyllenhaal
Directed by: Jim Sheridan (“In America”)
Written by: David Benioff (“The Kite Runner”)

Filmmaker Jim Sheridan wants us to know that war in hell, but in the melodramatic “Brothers” all the responsibility to exhibit the frustration and agony is put solely on the shoulders of actor Toby Maguire. Maguire, who mainstream audiences will identify as Spider-Man, has turned in some nice dramatic work in films like “Wonder Boys” and “The Cider House Rules,” but as a solider returning home from a devastating tour in Afghanistan only to find his wife (Natalie Portman) and outcast brother (Jake Gyllenhaal) have gotten closer, the emotions feel forced. Originally a very well-executed Danish film by Susanne Bier called “Brodre,” Sheridan and screenwriter David Benioff’s American version takes some fearless chances. Sometimes the intensity works, but overall a number of scenes feel disjointed from the ones they precede. See the original instead.

Grade: C+

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