starring Tobey Maguire, Jake Gyllenhaal, Natalie Portman, Mare Winningham
screenplay by David Benioff, based on the motion picture Brødre by Susanne Bier
directed by Jim Sheridan
starring Robert De Niro, Drew Barrymore, Kate Beckinsale, Sam Rockwell
screenplay by Kirk Jones, based on an earlier screenplay by Massimo De Rita & Tonio Guerra & Giuseppe Tornatore
directed by Kirk Jones
by Ian Pugh If you're feeling charitable towards Susanne Bier's Brødre, you'll probably consider Jim Sheridan's Brothers an extraordinarily faithful remake--one that follows the original recipe so closely it could be considered a step-by-step recreation. But a quick survey of what screenwriter David Benioff excised and expanded reveals that he wasn't merely a glorified script doctor, having squeezed some real pathos from a tactless source. It's still the story of a loving father, Sam (Tobey Maguire), who is forced to perform unspeakable acts as a POW in Afghanistan. Because Sam's presumed dead, his ex-con brother Tommy (Jake Gyllenhaal, finding the perfect balance between guilt and innocence) straightens out his life and grows ever closer to Sam's wife (Natalie Portman) and children. Sam's sudden reappearance in their lives is further complicated by the onset of the soldier's post-traumatic stress, but gone are the heavy-handed lines about the nature of good, evil, and death from Bier's film. In their place, moments of shaky acceptance as new members are integrated into a family--followed by stares of betrayal as loved ones become interlopers in their own home.