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

Their Finest Movie Review

Their Finest Movie Review

Skilfully written, directed and acted, this offbeat British period film tells a story that catches...

Unforgettable Movie Review

Unforgettable Movie Review

With heavy echoes of trashy thrillers like Fatal Attraction, this movie overcomes its painfully simplistic...

The Belko Experiment Movie Review

The Belko Experiment Movie Review

The kill-or-die scenario that this movie hinges on isn't something new; it's been used in...

The Fate of the Furious Movie Review

The Fate of the Furious Movie Review

With the more dumbed-down title Fast & Furious 8 outside of North America, this overcrowded...

A Quiet Passion Movie Review

A Quiet Passion Movie Review

British writer-director Terence Davies (The Deep Blue Sea) is an expert at digging beneath the...

The Sense of an Ending Movie Review

The Sense of an Ending Movie Review

Julian Barnes' Booker Prize-winning novel is adapted into a remarkably intelligent, gently involving film anchored...

The Boss Baby Movie Review

The Boss Baby Movie Review

There isn't a lot of subtlety in this madcap animated comedy, which is more aimed...

Advertisement
City of Tiny Lights Movie Review

City of Tiny Lights Movie Review

After the latest incarnation of Dredd, director Pete Travis shifts gears drastically for this complex...

Going in Style Movie Review

Going in Style Movie Review

This is only technically a remake of the iconic 1979 film starring movie icons George...

Graduation Movie Review

Graduation Movie Review

Romanian filmmaker Cristian Mungiu (4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days) recounts another staggeringly detailed...

Ghost in the Shell Movie Review

Ghost in the Shell Movie Review

This sci-fi thriller is so visually stunning that it deserves to be mentioned in the...

Free Fire Movie Review

Free Fire Movie Review

Basically a 90-minute shoot-out, there isn't a lot to this movie. British filmmaker Ben Wheatley...

Life Movie Review

Life Movie Review

Like a mash-up of Alien and Gravity, this ripping sci-fi horror movie is very effective...

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

Based on a true story, it's the historical aspect of these events that holds the...

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.