Rent The Sisters Brothers (2018)

3.2 of 5 from 728 ratings
1h 57min
Rent The Sisters Brothers (aka Les frères Sisters) Online DVD & Blu-ray Rental
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Two brothers - Eli and Charlie Sisters - are hired to kill a prospector who has stolen from their boss. A reimagining of the cinematic Western as a dangerous, witty, and emotionally cathartic exploration of what it means to be a man.
, , , , , , , , , Zac Abbott, , , , Lenuta Bala, , , , , Theo Exarchopoulos,
Jacques Audiard, Thomas Bidegain
Les frères Sisters
Universal Pictures
Action & Adventure, Comedy, Drama

2018 Venice Film Festival Silver Lion

Release Date:
Run Time:
117 minutes
English, Hungarian, Italian, Polish
English Hard of Hearing, Hungarian, Italian, Polish, Romanian
DVD Regions:
Region 2
Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen 2.39:1
  • Brothers Forever
  • Wanted Dead or Alive
  • Q&A Panel
Release Date:
Not released
Run Time:
122 minutes

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Reviews (8) of The Sisters Brothers

Not what I was expecting, but still liked it. - The Sisters Brothers review by KD

Spoiler Alert

I was expecting a comedy, it says comedy on the IMDb description and the trailer implies that too. What a crap way to market a good Western. Really enjoyed the characters and cast in this; John C. Reilly, Joaquin Phoenix and Jake Gyllanhaal.

4 out of 5 members found this review helpful.

They're brothers but they're called Sisters - it's crazy. - The Sisters Brothers review by DS

Spoiler Alert

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.

3 out of 4 members found this review helpful.

Over-long but Interesting Western based on a novel - The Sisters Brothers review by PV

Spoiler Alert

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.

3 stars

2 out of 5 members found this review helpful.

Critic review

The Sisters Brothers (aka Les frères Sisters) review by Mark McPherson - Cinema Paradiso

The Sisters Brothers occupy an alluring type of ambling Western. The story is somewhat aloof, the adventure never quite a clear path and the nature of journeying across the West is treated with almost silent awe of grit. Much like traversing the dusty trails in search of fortune, these films are also risk and may mosey around for hours without finding much. Such a picture seems as though it’s looking for nuggets of gold and mostly turns up with golden pebbles.

It’s the 1850s and brothers Eli (John C. Reilly) and Charlie (Joaquin Phoenix) are working as hired guns. They make a few mistakes here and there but mostly get the job done. They’re at least reliable enough for wealthy clients to take them seriously when it comes to assassinations. Their latest mission has them chasing after two men, John Morris (Jake Gyllenhaal) and Hermann Kermit Warm (Riz Ahmed), who are searching for gold. Both pairs of men have conflicting views of the world and will a somewhat common bond, subtly by their ideals and more lethal by their mistakes.

Though these men have a certain set of skills for what they do, they find themselves in states of mistakes that’ll cost them. Their journey is not without peril, where bear attacks and spider bites become serious dangers that can result in death. They also can’t hold their liquor very well, which makes travel difficult when Charlie finds himself constantly drowning in the bottle. Morris believes he has just the skills in chemistry to find gold in an original way but it’s clear that his mind is more focused on idealism than how toxic the material he’s using maybe. They make mistakes and tough calls need to be made about their futures.

With all of this going on, one may ask if this Western is trying to be a drama or a comedy. The film itself is on a hunt for a genre, setting out into the Western setting and see what they can find. Is a drunk Charlie hilarious? Maybe. Is the tragic loss of a best friend so ill he commits to blowing his brains out be considered drama? Sure. How effective any of this is in its stumbling towards emotion is certainly questionable with many stops and starts along the way.

What I can say for certain is that Reilly and Phoenix give great performances even if it isn’t very clear where they’re headed in such a picture. I enjoyed watching Reilly’s innocent and curious interest in the invention of toothpaste, never treating it as an easy bit for a gag but a thoughtful choice in improving his life. Phoenix always seems to be the perfect actor for playing troubled characters and there’s a certain grace to how he approaches a flawed man with warmth and earnest. Their screen presence and chemistry demand a better script!

The ambling of The Sisters Brothers is not a total waste. There are a few scenes that work exceptionally well at showcasing the hardship of the era and the ideals of the misfits. But nothing ever feels as though it builds to something bigger past the mere quirks of its setting and characters. It’s a mild sort of mix of strong actors that do their best with material which feels like more bones than meat.

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