Brothers (2004), a lesser feature by the fine Danish director Susanne Bier, gets an American remake with a bevy of handsome stars whose unlikely glamour only exacerbates the original story’s contrivances. An upright soldier (Tobey Maguire) ships off for Afghanistan and goes down in a helicopter crash, leaving his jailbird brother (Jake Gyllenhaal) to move in on the soldier’s devoted wife (Natalie Portman) and adorable children. The family goes through with a funeral service even though no body has been recovered, and guess what? The soldier is still alive, held captive by the Taliban in scenes too woodenly staged and shot to feel credible. Bier’s film succeeded on the merits of its actors, and this one offers fine performances by Portman and Gyllenhaal, but Maguire doesn’t cut the mustard as the anguished military man. Jim Sheridan (In America) directed; with Sam Shepard, Bailee Madison, Mare Winningham, and Carey Mulligan (110 min.).
Director: Jim Sheridan
Writer: David Benioff and Susanne Bier
Producer: Michael De Luca
Cast: Natalie Portman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Tobey Maguire, Mare Winningham, Clifton Collins Jr., Carey Mulligan, Bailee Madison, Patrick Flueger, Jenny Wade and Luce Rains