Brother

"Weak"

Brother Review


Violence is bad. Violence is ugly. Violence breeds yet more violence. Kids, don't try this at home. This weighty message isn't the only barrier to enjoying Brother, but it's certainly one of the largest.

Written, directed by, and starring the infamous Takeshi Kitano (Kikujiro, Sonatine) Brother is his first film made outside his familial Japan, bringing the yakuza tradition to Los Angeles. (Yakuza translated for the average American is the Japanese mafia.)

If you piss a "family" member off, or dishonor yourself in any way, the usual punishment is public display of self-mutilation, usually resulting in the loss of limbs. A definition of dishonor can be anything from making a stupid decision to leaving one family for another.

It would be interesting to know more about where these and other customs come from. Unfortunately the film doesn't give too much of an explanation, assuming its audience is aware of Kitano's earlier work. There are several shots that focus specifically on detailed tattoos that spread across the entire back of the yakuza members, leading one to assume they would be symbolic of something, but you never know what. Then there's a scene in which a man kills himself in front of a rival in exchange for that rival joining the family. Granted, this is one of the best scenes in the movie, but it doesn't make a lot of sense.

Instead, the two hours are basically spent watching the following: people go out and shoot each other, talk about it for ten-plus minutes, then go out and do it again. The consistently repetitive discussion of territory during these moments involuntarily provokes yawning.

There are also plot details thrown in for no identifiable purpose. All of the sudden Yamamoto (Kitano) has a girlfriend. He barely speaks to her, treats her like crap, and then sends her away. Another missed opportunity, considering it is such a big deal for Kitano to bring his magic to the United States, is the combination of cultures, which rely too heavily on overused stereotypes.

Though slow moving, Brother does have good elements. The action scenes are well directed, clearly defined, and interesting to watch. Some of the violence is more hinted at than shown, which produces the luscious squirm that one goes to see such films for.

The actors would be more enticing if they had more to do. Shirase's (Masaya Kato) loud, sarcastic coolness set against Yamamoto's quietly threatening attitude is truly an entertaining combination. Their moments together or apart steal the rest of the show.

Also to its credit, Brother tackles the cause and effect of crime with realism. A life of crime is easy to get sucked into with the first reward of quick cash. Sure people get rich, but they can also lose just as easily. It's a great moral, with a great cast, just not much substance to back it up.

They don't look like brothers to me.



Brother

Facts and Figures

Run time: 114 mins

In Theaters: Saturday 27th January 2001

Box Office Worldwide: $15.3M

Budget: $12M

Distributed by: Sony Pictures Classics

Production compaines: Recorded Picture Company (RPC), Office Kitano, Bandai Visual Company, Fuzzy Bunny Films (I), Little Brother Inc., Tokyo FM Broadcasting Co.

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 47%
Fresh: 34 Rotten: 39

IMDB: 7.3 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Aniki Yamamoto, as Denny, Kurôdo Maki as Ken, as Kato, as Shirase, as Jay, Lombardo Boyar as Mo, as Ishihara, as Sugimoto, as Latifa, Joseph Ragno as Rossi, as Harada

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power Movie Review

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power Movie Review

It's been a decade since Al Gore's wake-up-call documentary won the Oscar. And here he...

The Hitman's Bodyguard Movie Review

The Hitman's Bodyguard Movie Review

It really doesn't matter that this movie is utterly ridiculous, because the central pairing of...

Final Portrait Movie Review

Final Portrait Movie Review

A relaxed, amusing true story about noted Swiss painter and sculptor Alberto Giacometti, this sharply...

Tom of Finland Movie Review

Tom of Finland Movie Review

Finnish artist Tuoko Laaksonen used the name "Tom of Finland" as he drew explicit illustrations...

A Ghost Story Movie Review

A Ghost Story Movie Review

Filmmaker David Lowery reunites the stars from his offbeat Western Ain't Them Bodies Saints for...

Atomic Blonde Movie Review

Atomic Blonde Movie Review

From the co-director of John Wick, this similarly styled action romp puts Charlize Theron front...

Girls Trip Movie Review

Girls Trip Movie Review

This movie's premise basically sounds like The Hangover with added black girl power. But it's...

Advertisement
Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie Movie Review

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie Movie Review

There's so much manic energy in this animated action comedy that it can't help but...

The Big Sick Movie Review

The Big Sick Movie Review

It may be rather long for a romantic comedy, but this film has such a...

The Emoji Movie Movie Review

The Emoji Movie Movie Review

There's no reason why this animated comedy adventure needed to be this pointless. Solidly entertaining...

England Is Mine Movie Review

England Is Mine Movie Review

While this is billed as a film about The Smiths' singer-songwriter Morrissey, it's actually an...

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets Movie Review

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets Movie Review

It's been 20 years since French filmmaker Luc Besson shook up the sci-fi genre with...

Dunkirk Movie Review

Dunkirk Movie Review

Britain's epic 1940 evacuation of Dunkirk has been dramatised on film before, but no one...

Killing Ground Movie Review

Killing Ground Movie Review

From Australia, this dark and edgy thriller is skilfully made by writer-director Damien Power to...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.