Starring: Joaquin Phoenix (DON’T WORRY , IRRATIONAL MAN , and the upcoming JOKER ), John C. Reilly (KONG: SKULL ISLAND , THE LOBSTER , GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY , WRECK-IT RALPH , and upcoming films HOLMES & WATSON  and RALPH BREAKS THE INTERNET: WRECK-IT RALPH 2 ), Jake Gyllenhaal (STRONGER , NOCTURNAL ANIMALS , SOUTHPAW , and upcoming films SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME  and VELVET BUZZSAW ) and Riz Ahmed (STAR WARS: ROGUE ONE , and the upcoming VENOM )
Support: Rebecca Root (COLETTE  and DANISH GIRL ), Rutger Hauer (SAMSON , VALERIAN , and upcoming films THE SONATA  and VIY 2: JOURNEY TO CHINA ), and Carol Kane (PANDEMONIUM )
Director/Co-writer: Jacques Audiard (stuff I’ve either never seen or heard of)
Co-writer: Thomas Bidegain (RACER AND THE JAILBIRD , and the upcoming LADY WINSLEY )
Composer: Alexandre Desplat (OPERATION FINALE , SHAPE OF WATER , FLORENCE FOSTER JENKINS , DANISH GIRL, GODZILLA , Harry Potters DEATHLY HALLOWS PART 1  and PART 2 , and upcoming films KURSK  and THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS 2 )
Cinematographer: Benoît Debie (THE RUNAWAYS , and the upcoming THE BEACH BUM )
Editor: Juliette Welfling (OCEAN’S 8  and FREE STATE OF JONES )
This is my honest opinion of: THE SISTERS BROTHERS
Set in 1852. A pair of brothers, Eli Sisters (John C. Reilly) and Charlie Sisters (Joaquin Phoenix) are also a pair of hitmen who have just been assigned to hunt down a gold prospector named Hermann Warm (Riz Ahmed) who has stolen a formula for finding gold easier from The Commodore (Rutger Hauer). The hunt proves complicated when another man under The Commodore’s payroll named John Morris (Jake Gyllenhaal) decides to protect Hermann, instead of keep him for the Sisters Brothers to interrogate.
Yeah, okay, I kinda dug this movie. Eh, well, for the most part.
Obviously, the biggest drawing points are Phoenix and Reilly and they work absolutely fantastic together. Eli is the near-bumbling older brother who almost hates what he does. He’s kind-hearted, but none of that means he’s incompetent in a gunfight. He hates that his brother is an alcoholic, but he remains loyal and always stays at his side. But that shouldn’t suggest that Reilly doesn’t have a few comedic moments. One of my favorite bits is when Eli discovers toothpaste and a flushing toilet, and is giddy about them. And Charlie is an absolute wreck. Due to the shared miserable upbringing, Charlie is very angry and very prone to violence and even loves it. Despite his messed up way of living, and though he’ll never admit it, he knows he wouldn’t be half the man he is without Eli. They work well together and half of the reason he’s even able to get on a horse and get from one town to another is because Eli is hoisting his ass on the horse. Ultimately, they’re brothers who bicker more than they laugh, but I wager the actors themselves are having an absolute blast on set and it shows. All of the acting is pretty great. Gyllenhaal and Ahmed are pretty good. They don’t stand out, or anything, but they’re passable.
But there are a few things that I take issue with.
The first is that the movie is pretty slow moving. That wouldn’t necessarily be a problem if there was something interesting happening, like good character development, but a lot of the scenes with Eli and Charlie are pretty bland. Some of the individual scenes either kind of just show them talking without much being revealed about their characters. Don’t get me wrong, most of this movie will leave you with smiles and a few chuckles, but the comedy isn’t exactly knee-slapping. So unless something particularly interesting or exciting is happening, it’s dull. It doesn’t help that more than a few scenes go nowhere. One example is this bit where Eli has a spider crawl into his mouth while he’s sleeping. It bites him, the next morning his face is swollen, and there’s a good two or three scenes of him being sick. It’s not like he’s suffering from the side effects of the spider bite for the rest of the movie or anything, it’s just an excuse to say that they were held up and that’s why they didn’t get to Hermann and John in time. But I don’t know, I feel like it didn’t take long for John switch sides on the matter, so it wouldn’t have changed the narrative. The brothers would have still arrived to find their target not where he’s supposed to be.
Overall, it’s a pretty likable movie. It’s got long pretty long bouts of boring pointless scenes, but even then there’s something to enjoy thanks to some fun performances by the two leads. It throws in a few fun surprises that actually subvert the genre and almost even satirize it. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy myself and I’m glad I saw it, but I can’t say I’d ever see it again. I didn’t get that much out of it. Still, as a recommendation, I’d say it’s worth checking out. A theatrical release may be pretty iffy, but it’s definitely a strong rental.
My honest rating for THE SISTERS BROTHERS: a strong 3/5
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