Brothers (DVD)

by Peter on June 11, 2011

Brothers (Danish version)Brothers is a emotionally charged movie that tells a hard but plausible story. It is simple yet very powerful story of the Prodigal Son. In the 2004 Danish film Brothers (top left cover), directed by the very talented Susanne Bier, the story was given a vigorous new interpretation.

The story is about two brothers who seem to be opposites. One brother, Michael (very well played by by Ulrich Thomsen), is a Major in the Danish army. He’s a good-natured person who loves his family and always tries to do the right thing. The other brother, Jannik (played by Kaas), has just spent time in jail for a bank robbery and an assault on one of the bank’s female employees. He likes to drink and fight, and is a bit of a loose cannon. Michael has always been the one who succeeded and got all of the positive attention, while Jannik remained the black sheep of the family.

Brothers - US Version 2When Michael’s unit is sent to Afghanistan to fight, he’s in a helicopter crash and presumed dead. Jannik begins to help Michael’s wife, Sarah (outstandingly well played by Connie Nielsen), and her two daughters as a way for all of them to deal with their enormous grief. Eventually, Jannik and Sarah fall in love, only to have Michael return from the grave, which creates a rather unique situation for everybody.

Brothers - Ulrich ThomsenWhile Michael was held prisoner in Afghanistan, he was forced to do something horrible in order to stay alive. Something that now, after he has returned, completely destroys him. Memories and guilt that he cannot push aside – and that, like a bomb, keep ticking away inside him. As a result, he is a very different man when he returns to his family.

Brothers - US versionIn 2009, Irish director Jim Sheridan did an American remake of Brothers (second cover on left). The story is the same, and the remake features Tobey Maguire as Captain Sam Cahill, Jake Gyllenhaal as his brother Tommy, and Natalie Portman as Sam’s wife Grace. They all perform extremely well, but I prefer Ulrich Thomsen’s acting in the Danish version to that of Tobey Maguire. The remake stays close to the original, but still – in my opinion as well as that of a number of reviewers – it loses some of its true grit. However, in both versions the emotional devastation hits very hard.

I hold a slight preference for the Danish version – probably because it feels more authentic and because it is a little tougher.

However, the acting is superb in both versions, the actors give tremendous life and breath to their characters. And the filming, too, is excellent in both movies.

Brothers is a film that I found very interesting and intense. Strongly recommended!

Product Details (Danish version)

  • Actors: Connie Nielsen, Ulrich Thomsen, Nikolaj Lie Kaas, Sarah Juel Werner, Rebecca Løgstrup
  • Directors: Susanne Biel
  • Format: AC-3, Color, Dolby, DVD, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: Danish
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Universal Studios
  • DVD Release Date: September 20, 2005
  • Run Time: 117 minutes

Product Details (US Version)

  • Actors: Jake Gyllenhaal, Tobey Maguire, Natalie Portman, Patrick Flueger, Sam Shepard
  • Directors: Jim Sheridan
  • Format: AC-3, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, DVD, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Lionsgate
  • DVD Release Date: March 23, 2010
  • Run Time: 105 minutes

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