I was almost instantly attracted to this one because I just love films like this! This was like a combination between modern suburban life and modern war that features the current war that is going on right now so what we see in Brothers is an event that occurs and makes one storyline become two. Yeah, this is a remake of the 2004 Danish version but I think that this one could be better. Not only because of the performances from the actors but also the way it was filmed and the fact that the war over there is getting even worse now than it was back in 2004.
The film is based on Susanne Bier's 2004 Danish film Brødre which takes place in Afghanistan and Denmark. Both films take inspiration from Homer's epic poem The Odyssey. Tells the story of a young married couple Sam (Tobey Maguire) and Grace Cahill (Natalie Portman) who live with their two daughters but Sam is a trooper in the war and goes out to fight. After the aircraft crashes, he is presumed dead but he is really captured by terrorists and his family have no idea. On the other side of the story is of Tommy Cahill (Jake Gyllenhaal) who is Sam's younger brother who has just been released from prison. When Sam goes to war, Tommy comforts Grace and the children but a romance comes between Tommy and Grace and events start changing around. The cast was another reason why I was attracted to this one so quickly. Natalie Portman is the most gorgeous actress ever and one of the best living actresses, Jake Gyllenhaal is an underrated actor who has made a big name for himself over the years and... Well we all know Tobey Maguire played Peter Parker in the Spider-Man trilogy. All of their performances are brilliant! Tobey Maguire was nominated for a Golden Globe for his performance (which he happened to be really surprised about) and I think Natalie Portman should have earned one too. Jake Gyllenhaal was pretty awesome too.
I'd not watched a Jim Sheridan film until now. He is perhaps better known for In The Name Of The Father and My Left Foot and his work on Brothers thought was like Joe Wright and Atonement in terms of chemistry between characters but technical production was different.
To be honest, I would say that this is just another demonstration of what life is like for the troops and also for the families of the troops and how they feel about the war. Not that it's a bad thing; just that there are a lot like it and this happens to be another. As far as what the film tries to bring out and give to the audience is that it is a film of self-discovery like when Tommy is released from prison, he becomes a new man and more noble towards his family. Only problem is that the trailer of the film gives too much away. There are certain boundaries where a film would be ruined by the trailer but this just happens to be another.
Overall, Brothers is a very underrated 2009 film that should have been taken into consideration by the Academy such as the performances, cinematography and art direction. Solid underrated performances from the three leads and found really entertaining as well as heartbreaking and inspiring. It is like a tribute to the troops and their families.