Cinema-Scene.com > Volume 6 > Number 24

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Director:
Jean-Jacques Annaud

Starring:
Guy Pearce
Freddie Highmore
Jean-Claude Dreyfus
Philippine Leroy-Beaulieu
Vincent Scarito
Moussa Maaskri

Release: 25 Jun. 04
IMDb

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Two Brothers

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
.

©2004, David Perry, Cinema-Scene.com, 18 June 2004