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The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )

Film:


Extras:


Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )

85






Studio and Year: Lionsgate - 2009
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 105 minutes
Genre: Drama

Disc Format: BD-25
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Resolution: 1080p/24


Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio
Subtitles: English & Spanish
Starring: Tobey McGuire, Jake Gyllenhaal, Natalie Portman, Sam Sherpard, Mare Winningham, Clifton Collins Jr.
Directed by: Jim Sheridan
Music by: Thomas Newman
Written by: David Benioff
Region Code: A

Blu-ray Disc release Date: March 23, 2010







"There are two sides to every family"



Film Synopsis:


A Marine about to embark on his fourth tour of duty, Sam (Maguire) is a steadfast family man married to his high school sweetheart, the aptly named Grace (Portman), with whom he has two young daughters. Tommy (Gyllenhaal), his charismatic younger brother, is a drifter just out of jail who's always gotten by on wit and charm. He slides easily into his role as family provocateur on his first night out of prison, which is also Sam's farewell dinner with their parents, Elsie (Winningham) and Hank Cahill (Shepard). When Sam's Blackhawk helicopter is shot down in the mountains of Afghanistan, the worst is presumed, leaving an enormous void in the family. Tommy steps in to fill the void with consequences that will shake the foundation of the entire family.




My Take:


Sam (McGuire) was a star athlete in high school that married his cheerleader girlfriend, and followed in his Dad's footsteps by joining the Marine Corps where his sense of duty and competence elevate him to Captain, a role he excels in. In contrast, his brother Tommy (Gyllenhaal) was an angry, delinquent, partier type in high school whose latest escapade landed him a stretch in the local penitentiary. Despite their status within the family Tommy and Sam were close growing up and it would seem that Sam easily forgives Tommy shortcomings. It seems as though the family's stability revolves around Sam who does a balancing act between his wife Grace (Portman), their two daughters Isabelle (Madison), and Maggie (Geare), and his retired Marine father Hank (Shepard), stepmother Elsie (Winningham) and of course Tommy. Sam's relationship with his older daughter Isabelle is on thin ice due to her resentment over his frequent military deployments. He and Grace have a good marriage but it too suffers from his devotion being split between his family and career. Things come to a boil when bad brother Tommy is released from prison reentering the family fold and Sam announces he is headed off to Afghanistan for yet another tour. When Sam's Black Hawk helicopter is shot down he is presumed dead. This rocks the family. Tommy gets his act together and steps up to provide support to Grace and the children. He helps around the house and develops a close bond with the children that differed from the one they had with their father. Tommy and Grace also make a connection but before they can truly understand what that connection may be everyone is shocked by the news that Sam isn't dead and that he is returning home. Sam's return is bittersweet for Tommy as he must cope with his feelings. Sam returns suffering from traumatic events that unfolded while he was in enemy captivity. He carries a secret that torments him and threatens to dissolve the remnants of the stable and loving man that left only a few short months earlier.

Brothers is a melodramatic film that tells the compelling tale of how two brothers come to terms with issues of love, loyalty, and manhood with the love of a woman caught between them. This is only the surface of what this character driven film is about. It tells the age old story of a family divided where one son succeeds in pleasing his father while the other consistently provides heartbreak and disappointment. Sam's disappearance and subsequent return from the war sees a role reversal between himself and Tommy as everyone copes with the emotional rigors involved. This is a compelling film built upon a familiar premise that we have all seen before. What makes it a stand out is the depth of the performances by the primary cast, especially Tobey McGuire. His convincing portrayal of Sam's singular torment, anger, jealousy, and guilt is refreshing and in my opinion deserving of not only the Golden Globe nomination he received but Oscar worthy as well. It is based upon the Danish film Brodre and from what I understand changes the story slightly but maintains the primary elements. Director Jim Sheridan's superb pedigree speaks for itself and I think he demonstrates the encompassing aspects associated with this family's dysfunctional dynamic with visceral authenticity. Brothers is a stirring dramatic film that may not be as good as the original but makes for a strong genre entry that fans are sure to appreciate.



Parental Guide:


The rating is for language and some disturbing violent content including scenes of torture.





AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**


(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


Audio: 84


  • Dynamics:

  • Low frequency extension:

  • Surround Sound presentation:

  • Clarity/Detail:

  • Dialogue Reproduction:





Video: 86


(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Resolution/Clarity:

  • Black level/Shadow detail:

  • Color reproduction:

  • Fleshtones:

  • Compression:

Brotherscomes to Blu-ray from Lionsgate featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 20 mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 channel Master Audio that has an average bitrate of 2.8 mbps.

Video quality was quite good and delivered images that were detailed and artifact free. Resolution was excellent as both people and objects were rendered with clear definition that at times was meticulously resolved. Long distant camera pans were smooth and appreciably dimensional. Blacks were stable and deep with excellent dynamic range. Contrast was well balanced and consistent so that colors and whites didn't appear overdriven. The color palette doesn't make use of bold or striking chromatic elements as red, yellow, orange and their variants are scant. It appeared as though filtering was applied to tame/subdue color saturation. That is more an observation than a complaint but it made the film appear less visually vibrant. Flesh tones were mildly affected by this and were a little on the pasty side but otherwise looked fine. The video had a clean pristine quality that when coupled with video high resolution looked great.

This isn't an encompassing soundtrack but the lossless DTS-HD Master Audio presentation made up for it with sparkling clarity and detail. Dialogue was impressive in its tonal distinction and transparent blend with the front three channels. Imaging and sound effects reproduction were first rate as the sound field in the front of the room bristled with sonic detail. The surrounds were primarily utilized for atmospheric presence however discernible discrete audio cues were effectively mixed in where appropriate. Dynamic range was excellent which provided good solidity and weight to the audio in general. Low frequency detail was sparse but effectively implemented during the sequences involving the events in Afghanistan. I felt that the mix highlighted the strengths of the source material and sounded quite good for a predominantly dialogue driven film.



Bonus Features:

  • Audio commentary with director Jim Sheridan

  • (HD) Remade in the USA: How Brodre became Brothers - 12 minute featurette

  • (HD) Jim Sheridan: Film and family - 15 minute featurette

  • (HD) Theatrical trailer



Final Thoughts:


Brothers is a stirring dramatic portrait of a family left to assemble the pieces of fractured relationships after their number one son/husband/brother returns from the war in Afghanistan. It is a character film that deals with issues concerning love, loyalty, dysfunction, and post traumatic disorder. Tobey McGuire gives one of his strongest performances to date in this remake of the highly regarded Danish film Brodre. It comes to Blu-ray Disc from Lionsgate featuring excellent audio/video quality and bonus supplements that are worth checking out especially if you have an interest in the film's background and director. I enjoyed it and recommend that you throw it in your rental queue and take it for a spin.















Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews





Reference Review System:



JVC DLA-RS20 1080p High Definition Front Projector (Calibrated by Jeff Meier)

Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100 16x9 Screen

Anthem AVM50v THX Ultra 2 Preamp/Video Processor

Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier

Oppo BDP-83 Universal disc/Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)

Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)

Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)

Oppo 970HD universal disc DVD Player (480i HDMI)

Philips TSU9400 Pro Series Touch Panel Remote Control

Canton "Ergo" Series speakers

Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers

SV Sound PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)

APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector

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Im lookin forward to watching this movie next week when its released. Thanks for the review!
 

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Thanks Ralph. There are so many for release on the 23rd (one of the best days IMHO) I'm curious about regarding the BD quality. This one will be a rental for me and thanks for getting to it. I think you are going to be very very busy the rest of this month and April as well!
 

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Definately a day one buy for me.
 

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Thought this was an excellent movie! The cast did a pretty good job at playing their role. There was this one scene (with Toby and his army friend) that was hard to watch and that really took a toll on him.


Natalie's character i thougth was great. Overall i'd Collect this one!!


Cheers
 

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Hi Ralph,


I really enjoyed this film when it was in the theaters.


Why are some studios still using BD25 media and releasing movies with lower bitrate encodes? While the movie probably looks good per your review, I imagine it is lacking the pop that it could have had if it was encoded above 30Mbps for BD50 media.
 

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Watched this last night. I was pleasantly surprised! The story was different than I was expecting from the trailers. Great acting all the way around.
 

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I picked up Brothers at BB yesterday and tried to watch it tonight. I thought the first half was a bore and then it moved on to scenes from Afghanistan, so shocking and depressing that they offended me. I then popped the BD out of the PS3, promising myself that I would exchange it for something tomorrow that would cleanse my palate.


Before anybody jumps me for being a wimp, let me explain that I have reacted this negatively to few films and can count on the fingers of one hand the films I flat gave up on before the end. Most of the Rotten Tomatoes Top Critics reacted negatively, too. Only 25% of them gave Brothers positive reviews. My advice is to stay far, far away from Brothers. 1 out of 10 Stars.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by gwsat /forum/post/18373671


I picked up Brothers at BB yesterday and tried to watch it tonight. I thought the first half was a bore and then it moved on to scenes from Afghanistan, so shocking and depressing that they offended me. I then popped the BD out of the PS3, promising myself that I would exchange it for something tomorrow that would cleanse my palate.


Before anybody jumps me for being a wimp, let me explain that I have reacted this negatively to few films and can count on the fingers of one hand the films I flat gave up on before the end. Most of the Rotten Tomatoes Top Critics reacted negatively, too. Only 25% of them gave Brothers positive reviews. My advice is to stay far, far away from Brothers. 1 out of 10 Stars.

gwsat, you missed out my friend. The second half of the film (after the Afghan scenes) is what really made the movie for me.


Hopefully one day you'll give it another go.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by taz291819 /forum/post/18377062


gwsat, you missed out my friend. The second half of the film (after the Afghan scenes) is what really made the movie for me.


Hopefully one day you'll give it another go.

Forget about it. I was so offended by the Afghanistan mess that I could never find within in myself a level of forgiveness that would let me watch the rest of it. Oh, had I said, as the immortal Roger Ebert has said about a few films, "I hated, hated, hated this movie!"?
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by gwsat /forum/post/18377943


Forget about it. I was so offended by the Afghanistan mess that I could never find within in myself a level of forgiveness that would let me watch the rest of it. Oh, had I said, as the immortal Roger Ebert has said about a few films, "I hated, hated, hated this movie!"?

Greetings,


Sorry to hear that this film had a negative effect on you gwsat. The good thing is that it is only a movie and you'll never have to watch it again.




Regards,
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ralph Potts /forum/post/18378055


Greetings,


Sorry to hear that this film had a negative effect on you gwsat. The good thing is that it is only a movie and you'll never have to watch it again.

Ralph -- Right, the silver lining is, indeed, that I will never have to suffer through it again.
That said, I understand why you and a lot of others liked Brothers. It had a talented cast, I had no complaint about the performances, and I can appreciate what could have been done with the dynamic of the Marine Corps brother returning to CONUS from Afghanistan. Also, Jake Gyllenhaal and Natalie Portman are two of my favorites. As noted in earlier posts, though, I just couldn't get around the writing. That sort of thing doesn't happen to me often but, man alive, it happened in spades this time!
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by gwsat /forum/post/18379675


Ralph -- Right, the silver lining is, indeed, that I will never have to suffer through it again.
That said, I understand why you and a lot of others liked Brothers. It had a talented cast, I had no complaint about the performances, and I can appreciate what could have been done with the dynamic of the Marine Corps brother returning to CONUS from Afghanistan. Also, Jake Gyllenhaal and Natalie Portman are two of my favorites. As noted in earlier posts, though, I just couldn't get around the writing. That sort of thing doesn't happen to me often but, man alive, it happened in spades this time!

I don't want to get into what offended you, as that's a different topic, but I can say the time and setting for those particular scenes could have been almost anything, from WWII to Vietnam. It would have still had the same effect for the story. The overall tone isn't important, it was the psychological impact that was important.
 

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Watched this last night and found it to be a total downer and depressing.

The film had a good cast and acting but just wasn't anything I would want to watch again.

Thanks Ralph for the review.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by JJHXBR /forum/post/18382495


Watched this last night and found it to be a total downer and depressing.

The film had a good cast and acting but just wasn't anything I would want to watch again.

Thanks Ralph for the review.

Greetings,


For that reason I recommend it as a rental only. Thanks for posting your impressions JJXBR.




Regards,
 

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I think when you have a film that deals with subject matter such as a dysfunctional family, prison, drunkenness, war, violence, infidelity, and post traumatic distress syndrome to name a few, you most likely have the ingredients for a rather disturbing and depressing movie.


Ralph, I think your recommendation of a rental was a good call!
 

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This is a good one! Intense and well acted and a relatively accurate portrayal of human nature and our base instincts.
 

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Ralph, I upped this one to a 4. It kept us thoroughly engaged and interested through the whole film.


This is a very good film. I had a problem with a few parts, but not enough to keep me from really enjoying this one.


First, Jake Gyllenhaal is a stellar actor. Ever since I saw him in October Sky (Highly Recommended!!!) years ago, I’ve looked forward to his films. He doesn’t let you down in this film either, playing his role very well, and making the role believable.


Natalie Portman is aging well, and is beautiful (literally) in this film. Her performance was excellent as well.


Tobey McGuire had a difficult role, and was able to pull it off pretty well I thought. It was tough to watch him in many cases just because of the experience he goes through, and his reaction to the situations. He pulls you in, and makes you uncomfortable because you don’t know what he’ll do next.

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show) Spoiler  
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show) So here are some of the parts I had some trouble with.


First, they didn’t need Sam to kill a fellow Marine to make the point of this film. There were very few Marines cast in this film, and to have one of the few murder his fellow Marine? Seemed like extreme screen writing to me, and disengaged me from the film for a little while. It is very disturbing to watch, and I do not like the stereotype that Marines may have that response to the situation. Having Sam forced to torture and torment his fellow marine could have produced the very same condition and would have been more believable for me.


Second, later in the film, Sam’s older daughter blurts out how Uncle Tommy is having sex with mommy, all the time. (due to her sadness and frustration of how her Dad came back from Afghanistan) This daughter seemed too young to be saying or understanding those lines, especially for how “straight laced” her upbringing was with her dad and mother. If a girl had been cast that was 3-4 years older, the line maybe would have seemed more age appropriate. A girl a few years older may have heard about and understand adult relationships a little more by that age, and maybe even the grown up relationship that Grace and Tommy were having. This was a small thing, but caught my attention.




Picture quality was good to very good depending on scene. Nothing really stood out, but nothing was noticeably wrong either. Nice clear picture, with appropriate contrast and black level. Colors looked accurate.


Sound quality was good. Dialogue was clear, which was crucial for this movie, as it was a character, dialogue driven film. Nothing all that dynamic to speak of.


PQ: 4 out of 5, SQ 3.5 out of 5, Film 4 out of 5


Dan
 
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