20 Jun

Sam Cahill (played by Tobey Maguire) is a US Marine. He’s a born leader, athletic and an all-round good guy. He’s a marvellous husband to Grace (by Natalie Portman) and a great father their young daughters Maggie (by Taylor Geare) and Isabelle (by Bailee Madison). Sam’s brother Tommy (by Jake Gyllenhaal) is not quite as successful, in fact, he’s a bit of a loose cannon and he’s currently serving a prison term for armed robbery. One day, Sam departs for his second tour of duty in Afghanistan and leaves Grace to care for Maggie and Isabelle. A few days later, Tommy is released from prison and, along with the boys’ parents Hank (by Sam Shepard) and Elise (by Mare Winningham), the family gradually start to rebuild their strained connections and get on with their lives. Then news comes through that Sam’s plane has been shot down and it’s reported that he’s been killed, which stuns Grace but creates a new sense of responsibility in Tommy and he begins to do whatever he can to help his sister-in-law and the children. Grace and Tommy lean on each other for support. Meanwhile, in Afghanistan, Sam is alive, but imprisoned and he experiences weeks of unbearable horrors at the hands of his captors before he is rescued. When he eventually returns home, he’s a different man – silent, detached, desensitised … and convinced Grace and Tommy have slept together. This is the story of the family dynamics surrounding each of the brothers, the war demons that overtake Sam’s world and the impact this has on all their lives …

This is a great movie. The drama and feelings between the three characters Sam, Tommy and Grace is palpable. All three provide magnificent performances – particularly Jake Gyllenhaal and Tobey Maguire, who are totally authentic as these brothers – their resemblance is striking and sometimes confusing until you can tell them apart!  The mood created through the cinematography and direction is one of futility, despair, loneliness and there is a strong sense of the mundane in the lives they would be leading (and they long for), were it not for this difficult situation they find themselves in.  It’s very good, well done. 

Made in 2009. Directed by Jim Sheridan

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Posted by on June 20, 2012 in Movies


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