They're brothers but they're called Sisters - it's crazy.
- The Sisters Brothers review by DS
The Sisters Brothers is another modern western that attempts to show a different west from the traditionally accepted, which it mainly succeeds all the while somehow staying close to what the viewer expects.
There’s more to cold-blooded killers than cold-blooded killing but they still are very good at their job and never get bested. Gold and the discovery of it is a driving factor in the hunt and impending downfall of their quarry – but Riz Ahmed is not your usual grizzled prospector, Jake Gyllenhaal is a bounty hunter too – but he finds people and waits for the real killers to arrive.
It all seems to be laid out in front of, you know the characters and even the storyline, but then it is not too. This is definitely the film’s strength and I can also see that it could be a weakness for some. Director Audiard shoot entirely in Europe and brought a sense of a European continental film to the story and the way it progressed. The action certainly has that grimy, gritty sense of the more modern westerns, scruffy, unclean, ragged around the edges, death is quick and cheap. Yet in amongst this the main characters are striving for a redemption of any sort that they might get. There is no black and white (hats) the whole canvas is a muddy grey and no one comes out clean.
Amhed’s reason for being pursued and escaping his pursers and capture is so incidental to the plot in real terms it might as well have ‘MacGuffin’ printed on it in foot-high letters. Audiard is more interested in his characters and how the ‘Wild West’ has shaped them, making seemingly tough, hardened, greedy and all the other characteristics we are used to seeing but giving them a real human side that motivates their actions and allows them to display other sides to the individuals rather than ‘killer’, ‘pyscho’, ‘greedy’, ‘untrustworthy’ and so on.
To do this the there is a lot of dialogue and a lot of simple pursuit, what violence and hardships that are suffered seem even more pertinent to the story as a life can be snuffed out easily for what sometimes is a random, undeserving, moment. So far so bleak.
As the characters traverse through the very western looking scenery the film can seem to be slow-paced and meandering but this is a strong point in the story and fits the overall narrative and what the director/writer wants to tell you. Shooting, galloping, yelping and screaming gunslingers would not be true to the story.
With great scenery and score the eyes and ears are as well treated as the old grey matter with The Sisters Brothers add into this mix John C Reilly, Joaquin Phoenix, Jake Gyllenhaal and Riz Ahmed on your starting roster and you have strong film. Female characters are not so strongly treated by Rebecca Root gets a great expanded cameo and as a ‘bad as the men’ character and Carol Kane turns up near the end which is always a nice treat for film lovers.
The Sisters Brothers is nice little western born of the same family as The Unforgiven and zigzagging across the genre right back to Shane. There’s redemption, death and life in the hard world of the west, but something that’s missing from a lot of those films is a European sensibility and an underlying sense of humour. This The Sisters Brothers has for me.
All in all The Sisters Brothers is good at what it does but be warned if you are expecting a more rock ‘em and sock ‘em western about bounty hunters shootin’ up the town then maybe do not set this aside to watch. I still think some viewers looking for that type of film might get enough from what they see but I can also see why some will not like the story as much as me.
2 out of 2 members found this review helpful.
Over-long but Interesting Western based on a novel
- The Sisters Brothers review by PV
This movie is too long, and the first half drags. However, it then started to get really interesting - for me, anyway.
If you're expecting endless fast action, you'll be disappointed. This is a movie based on a long slow book, and it is a bit long and slow.
John C Reilly is a superb actor (his turn as Oliver Hardy should perhaps have won him best actor Oscar) and the events fascinate.
Not everyone's cup of tea, and that first half hour needs patience. But I enjoyed it.
Maybe watch with old classic McKenna's Gold.
2 out of 4 members found this review helpful.