Ron Rosenbaum

Brothers Deserves the Oscar More Than...

Hurt Locker. The latter turns the Iraq conflict into Hollywood thriller cliche. Brothers returns a kind of agonized humanity to what was becoming a propaganda genre.

I just don’t understand why Brothers has been over-shadowed. Was it because people were tired of over-politicized war films and thought this was one?

Brothers is a brilliantly written and acted story of the cost of war that neither denigrates nor mythicizes the soldiers fighting it. It’s directed by Jim Sheridan, who won an Oscar for My Left Foot and has now made the film of a lifetime. It was written by David Benioff, who also wrote another amazing underrated film 25th Hour, based on his novel of that name, and directed by Spike Lee — his best — back in 2002. The guy can write.

Without getting into specifics — this is one movie whose plot you can’t summarize without ruining it — let’s just say it’s about two brothers: one who goes to Afghanistan (Tobey Maguire) and his other brother (Jake Gyllenhaal), the bad boy who stays behind and tries to take care of his brother’s wife. Based on a 2004 Danish film, there’s something primal, almost Biblical about it.

It’s a film that captures the unimaginable pain of separation that soldiers and their spouses go through, the horror they’re subjected to, and the PTSD that haunts them when they come home.

Yes, there are spectacular plot twists and you can’t forget that Natalie Portman (as the wife) is Natalie Portman (in a good way). But more than anything, it’s so intensely human and true it’s almost unbearable (in a good way).

Don’t miss it; it’s utterly riveting. Although I’ve already suggested Christian McKay of Me and Orson Welles for an Oscar, I can’t imagine Tobey Maguire not getting a nomination and wouldn’t feel bad at all if he wins, as the film itself should.

You can spend a billion dollars on special 3-D effects and never glimpse the dimensions of the human heart one can find in this film.