Tagline: There are two sides to every family.
Synopsis: Marine Captain Sam Cahill has one more thing to do before leaving for his second tour in Afghanistan – welcome his brother Tommy home from prison. But during his tour of duty, Sam’s helicopter is shot down and he is presumed dead. Meanwhile, Tommy tries to take care of his brothers’ wife and they end up falling for one another while unbeknowst to anyone Sam becomes a prisoner of war. Just as Tommy and his brother’s wife begin to fall for one another, Sam is rescued and returned home where he must confront the trauma of war and make a life and death decision that will affect everyone.
Meat & Potatoes: I wanted to see this film the first time I heard about it and even more so after watching the trailer. Of course I was also drawn in because of Jim Sheridan ( My Left Foot, The boxer, In America) and if you haven’t seen My Left Foot you should – painfully beautiful and for me one of the finest performances by Daniel Day-Lewis. I’m also a fan of Jake Gyllenhaal, Tobey Maguire and Natalie Portman so it was pretty easy to add this to my must watch list. I like the dynamics of the story and the nuances of the characters. Sam Shepard as the father was believable and at times interesting though he felt under directed – perhaps Mr. Sheridan was uncertain what to do with another actor/director, especially of Shepard’s caliber.
My real complaint with the film has more to do with wanting more from key scenes and better preparation for the climax. It becomes apparent where the story is going pretty early on, which isn’t bad by itself but rather puts a lot of importance of preparing us for the ending. At times it feels like the actors arrive too late for the emotional peaks and too soon in order to adequately prepare us for the next plot point. I didn’t believe the police confrontation scene but know that it was designed around a necessary outcome.
The screenplay is written by David Benioff (based on the film Brødre by Susanne Bier and Anders Thomas Jensen) who you might remember from the 2007 film The Kite Runner or the novel and subsequent screenplay he penned for 25th Hour – both strong character-centric stories with solid story lines and memorable scenes. I recently caught the movie Stay, which he wrote in 2005 and was directed by Marc Forster who’s film Monster’s Ball propelled him to fame and the follow up films Finding Neverland, Stranger Than Fictionand Quantum of Solace(among others). Look for a review about the movie Stay soon!
The Closer: An interesting twist on the war drama underscored by strong performances and believable characters set in a world many are all too familiar with – the gritty consequences of love and war. Fans of this ensemble cast with Jim Sheridan at the helm will not be disappointed.