- Parallel stories, synchronized storytelling 7/11/2005 12:00:00 AM by diand_
It's rare to find a movie with a meaningful, political context that is also good drama. Br?dre / Brothers has two interwoven story lines: one about the relationship between two brothers, the other about the difference between comfortable Western civilizations sending out soldiers to various missions and the actual war zones. These stories mirror each other and both brothers change roles during the movie: One starts in prison, the other ends up there; one is a family man; the other takes over this role after his brother's death. There is a nice ending, but I find that the only element not fitting the overall structure.
I like this also because it is well edited. Synchronization of images is used to tell the story of Michael in Afghanistan and Sarah in Denmark. Frequently a shot of Afghanistan is shown and directly followed by the same shot in Denmark: looking at a road, from a bus or car, etc.
Initially rhythm is established through a central 'Afghan' theme song. Once the characters are established in our minds, the acting takes over. I'm still wondering why Danish actors (and Scandinavian actors in general) are so good in what they do: Is that a compulsory subject in primary school there because even the children act so unbelievably natural.
The ethical dilemmas facing soldiers are well presented. Michael first has to demonstrate how a launcher works, knowing it will be used against his own people. Then comes the ultimate decision. The traumas he faces are real and reminded me of actual, similar stories of soldiers returning from Bosnia, Afghanistan or Iraq.
Susanne Bier has come out of the Dogme-movement as one of the better directors. In a world with not that many (talented) female directors she is someone to be cherished.
- Fragility and Strength: A Study of Family 3/30/2007 12:00:00 AM by gradyharp
'Br?dre'('Brothers') is a remarkable film from Denmark written by Anders Thomas Jensen and Susanne Bier who also directs this microscopic examination of the intricacies of family bonding, the significance of the blood ties between brothers, and the effects of one of the brutal realities of war on every individual member of a family. It is a tense drama made palpable by some phenomenal acting and direction.
Michael (Ulrich Thomsen) and Jannik (Nikolaj Lie Kaas) are polar opposites as brothers: Michael is his father's dream, a man who is committed to his family, his beautiful and devoted wife Sarah (Connie Nielsen) with whom he has two daughters, while Jannik is a carefree drifter who drinks too much and refuses to have the stable life his parents expect of him. Michael is off to war in Afghanistan and is in a tragic helicopter accident and reported as dead. When Sarah is informed her world crumbles, as does the mental state of her father-in-law. Jannik hears the news while drunk but slowly awakens to the awful reality that his brother is gone and his sister-in-law and nieces need the support he has never been able to muster.
In Afghanistan we discover that Sarah's inclination that Michael is not really dead is true: Michael has been captured by the Taliban and the experience as a prisoner changes him indelibly, breaking his shell of perfection and he becomes vulnerable and fragile. When Michael returns home to the surprise of everyone the dynamics that have reversed between the family and Jannik and the force that bonds Michael and Jannik is challenged and we are left to examine the fallout.
The script in Danish is supplemented with excellent subtitles in English, but one wonders if the words are even necessary - so fine is the acting of every actor involved. Connie Nielson is a major force in cinema today, a brilliant actor whose spectrum of dynamics appears endless. Both Thomsen and Kaas are equally fine in their difficult roles. This is a superlative work, a psychological drama that strikes chords of familiarity on many levels. Highly Recommended. Grady Harp
- A brilliant depiction of the impact of war on families 6/25/2005 12:00:00 AM by doctorow
Best picture we've seen in 2005. Why can't Hollywood make movies like this any more? Great cast, great direction, dialogue perfectly written comes through with power even in Danish with English subtitles! Connie Nielsen is in a league with Myrl Streep as an actress. The portrayal of the rough and tumble relationship of the brothers is so real it seems alive. Make sure you see this movie either in the theatres or on DVD. Nielsen is gorgeous but realistically portrays a housewife. The parents are classic Scandinavians, stolid and down to earth. Two little girls are played with zest and great energy. And the brothers, are quite believable as brothers. If you are interested in serious cinema and grown up movies "Brothers" should be on your list.
- Family Dynamics After War 7/24/2010 12:00:00 AM by claudio_carvalho
The family man Major Michael Lundberg (Ulrich Thomsen) is happily married with his beloved Sarah (Connie Nielsen) and adores his two daughters Natalia (Sarah Juel Werner) and Camilla (Rebecca L?gstrup Soltau). His younger brother Jannik (Nikolaj Lie Kaas) has just left prison on probation for bank robbery and has issues with his father Henning (Bent Mejding). Michael invites Jannik to have dinner at home with their family. When Michael arrives in Afghanistan, his helicopter crashes and he is considered missing in action. However, he is captured and sent to a camp where he meets the radar technician Niels Peter (Paw Henriksen). After a long period imprisoned, Micahel is forced to kill Niels with a bar to survive. Meanwhile Jannick comforts Sarah and the children and he becomes close to Michael's family. When Michael is rescued, he comes back home emotionally detached and paranoid. Further, he is convinced that Sarah and Jannik have slept together during his absence. When the envious Natalia lies during the birthday dinner party of her sister telling that her mother and Jannik had shagged to upset her father, the disturbed Michael triggers an intense paranoia jeopardizing his family.
"Br?dre" is a powerful and realistic drama about lives destroyed by war. This film is extremely well-acted, with an adequate cast that gives credibility to the plot led by the gorgeous and excellent Connie Nielsen. The sensitive director Susanne Bier of "Efter Brylluppet" makes another extraordinary movie based on the family dynamics. Jim Sheridan remade this film in 2009, but in a shallow teen "americanization" version. My vote is nine.
Title (Brazil): "Brothers"
- This is a heavy one 12/15/2008 12:00:00 AM by bandw
It's not hard to classify this one--it's an intense psychological drama. Whatever mood you were in before you started, you are most likely to be in a somber mood at the end. Perhaps the less you know about the story the more it will involve you. This is one of those movies that makes you ask the questions, "What would I have done in that situation," and "How would I have lived with my decision."
The main thrust of the story is an intimate examination of how a tragedy affects family dynamics. Nature abhors a vacuum. Guilt, jealousy, and doubt drive this to an intense climax.
Parformances are first rate, particularly Connie Nielsen.