THE SISTERS BROTHERS
By Mary Cox
The name of the film, “The Sisters Brothers” isn’t the only thing confusing about this gritty western set in Oregon in the 1850’s.
Two brothers, Eli and Charlie Sisters, are hired killers for the Commodore, a land baron. Charlie, (Academy Award nominee Joaquin Phoenix), loves his job and can’t see doing anything else. Eli, (Academy Award nominee John C. Reilly), on the other hand, feels he has to back Charlie’s play but wants to return home to a sweetheart he left behind. Eli carries a scarf his sweetheart gave him and sleeps with it every night to remember her by.
The Commodore sends the Sisters brothers to find a scientist, Hermann Kernit Warm, (Riz Ahmed), who has a formula to help discover gold. Previously, the Commodore sent John Morris, (Academy Award nominee Jake Gyllenhaal), to find Warm but instead of bringing Warm back, Morris joins up with him to find gold so the Sister’s brothers must kill both men and bring back the formula. Unfortunately, the Commodore doesn’t trust the Sisters brothers either and sends dozens of killers to killer Morris, Warm and the Sisters brothers.
“The Sisters Brothers” starts very slow and is confusing but t picks up and I found it interesting. It is brutal with lots of killing and a few f-bombs thrown in to show the crudeness of the men and toughness of the old west.
Even though Phoenix, Gyllenhaal and Ahmed’s performances were terrific, the film belongs to John C. Reilly; he was outstanding. I expect him to be nominated for an Oscar.
The cinematography is gorgeous. The panoramic vistas of the western United States are breathtaking and make us remember just how fabulous our country really is.
The screenplay was scripted by Jacques Audiard and Thomas Bidegain based on the book by Patrick Dewitt. Audiard also directed.
Although I didn’t love this film, I found myself thinking about it off and on fpr several days. It is bleak and will make you so happy you are living now and not in the 1850’s in the lawless west.