Release: 25 Jun. 04
BY: DAVID PERRY
In the guise of a simple, innocuous family film, Jean-Jacques
Annaudís Two Brothers delivers the type of unassuming entertainment that
rarely comes from live action Hollywood films. The saccharine values are
there, but they are forgivable amid the filmís willingness to test the
audienceís innate expectations for this type of film. This is the first
movie in my recollection in which I wanted nearly every human character in
the film to die, and itís meant as a compliment.
Of course, Siegfried and Roy maulings wouldnít be prudent for a film thatís
likely to draw a mostly pre-teen audience, but this is certainly an assured
work that is willing to recognize that many humans act atrociously towards
animals, and that, regardless of what our humanist instincts may dictate to
us, itís hard to find too much fault for animals when they kill humans who
are invading their territory. From circus people to hunters, the penetration
of human entertainment in the pain and ridicule of the animal kingdom is
present in Two Brothers, which is a mighty statement for a family film.
Certainly, I understand that itís hard to convince parents to take their kid
to a film that Iím using as a shoebox for anti-animal cruelty statements.
But this is still a film that dictates its meaning behind honest and easy
storytelling. Even when Annaudís conservationist side comes fully alive, the
film is still a satisfying treat for any age.