Brothers

dir Martin Dunkerton
scr Martin Dunkerton, Nick Valentine
with Justin Brett, Daren Jacobs, Daniel Fredenburgh, Rebecca Cardinale, Nick Valentine, Fin Wild, Stephen Maggio, Stewart Thompson, Leigh Tapper, Ralph Saint-Rose, Jane Kemlo, Anna Van Der Velt
00/UK 2 out of 5 stars


Review by Rich Cline
An autobiographical film about the director's holiday experiences on a Greek island, Brothers has a strong feeling of authenticity to it that we usually don't see in Brits-abroad comedies (or documentaries). It dares to get under the skin and show the spiritual and seedy sides to hedonistic vacations. And while it's not completely successful, it's at least intriguing and rather daring.

The titular siblings are Matt and Julian (Brett and Fredenburgh) two lads who with their friends descend on the island of Paros. Matt is known as "Mystic Matey", as he's consumed by the spiritual side of life, reaching out to the local cafe owner (Cardinale) who is having serious man trouble. Julian is "The King", probably because he has no trouble getting women, although he can't find one he wants to keep. We also have "Beercan" (Jacobs), a perpetual drunk who's sinking into oblivion; "Driftwood" (Valentine), who just seems to go with the flow; "Tarzan" (Wild), a married Kiwi trying to forget his wife and child back home; and "Wildman" (Maggio), who quickly hooks up with a local DJ (Saint-Rose) and his jealous partner (Kemlo).

Over the course of the week, all of these characters learn Important Life Lessons that cut through all the partying, ribaldry and topless women. Since the film's being marketed as a beach-party flick, this subtext makes it surprisingly serious. And it's not terribly smooth--blending real grit and wacky antics with a rather contrived redemption plot for each character. Performances are a bit uneven as well; Brett and Fredenburgh are very natural, but others try too hard to convey their characters and the Important Life Lessons they learn. It's all very well directed, with captivating, sunny cinematography and believable relationships between the lads. But the film's message may miss its intended target, as it'll resonate more with guys who have grown out of taking holidays like this. Because the guys who still do take them will just get bored with the film's serious, mystical core as they wait for the next "action" scene.

[18--adult themes and situations, language, nudity] 16.Jun.00
UK release 23.Jun.00

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2000 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall

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