Reviewed by: Chris Monroe
|Featuring:||Guy Pearce, Le Mai Anh, Freddie Highmore, Philippine Leroy-Beaulieu, Jean-Claude Dreyfus|
|Director:||Jean-Jacques Annaud (The Bear; Seven Years in Tibet; Enemy at the Gates)|
|Producer:||Jake Eberts, Jean-Jacques Annaud|
Uniting National Geographic with fairy tale is what you will experience when you watch Two Brothers. From French Academy Award winner (the film L’ Ours) Jean Jacques Annaud and director of The Bear comes another good-spirited story that causes us to sympathize with animals and see dangers they can suffer. Easily relating their struggles to our own, the movie ultimately highlights the bond of family and celebrates the joy of being together.
Inside a sacred, ancient temple in the remote jungles of Southeast Asia, a tiger family begins when twin cubs are born. Having their serene dwelling encroached upon by Aidan McRory (Guy Pearce) and his men out to pilfer Buddhist statues, the family’s struggle for survival begins. The young cubs are separated during their family’s plight and grow up in settings opposite of their temperaments. The timid cub is raised in a circus and trained to be a ferocious wild beast, while the bold, aggressive cub lives as the house pet of a young boy, Raoul (Freddie Highmore). Eventually, these brothers reunite, initially as opponents set to fight each other to the death, but their reunion brings about resolve for both themselves and man.
It was interesting to see how much personality was infused into these wild tiger cubs. Through the shots, set-ups and reactions of these animals, we are caused to understand their thoughts in light of the story. The tilt of a head or the perking up of the ears in their reactions did a lot in communicating to us the inner life of these creatures, pertaining to the drama of the story. It was fascinating to watch these animals and relate with them as they travel through their adventure. (Director Jean Jacques Annaud explains more about working with them in our interview article)
Because the reactions of the tigers are so accessible to us, it makes the entertainment a bit more extraordinary. The overall movie is very family friendly and is one that can easily be enjoyed by children. The only potential upsetting moments for kids are the couple of moments where animals are shot with a rifle, but they are done off camera. One of these moments also proves to be only a wounding, and not a killing. These particular moments are really only incidental, and not the focus of the overall story.
The theme of this story is really one of peace. (Director Jean Jacques Annaud addresses this idea in our interview article) Although it was not the director’s intention to make a political statement, it is interesting to see this film in light of the fighting happening in the Middle East. The climactic moment of the story revolves around these two tigers fighting, but the resolve of the moment is one that catches us off guard, with a conclusion that offers us something quite different. Interestingly, the director did not set out to draw an analogy with the war, but simply wrote the story in a state of peace.
An aspect of the movie I did find to critique is that some of the movie looked like it was shot on digital video, and comes across a little fuzzy in places. It was a little noticeable, but may not consciously detract from most people’s overall experience. Still, however, the movie is one to be enjoyed by all ages, and will also be a sure treat for animal lovers.
Violence: Minor / Profanity: None / Sex/Nudity: None
Read our INTERVIEWS with the cast and director of “Two Brothers”