Brothers of War full movie review - British film-making at its best
Just as my faith in the British Film Industry is beginning to wane, along comes a real gem!
'Brothers of War' is a proper war film in that it concentrates on the impact of war and not just on moments of combat - which are actually few and far between in a film which is misleadingly packaged as an action movie.
The story kicks off in Cologne with two German brothers discovering secrets of their ancestry in a letter left in their father's will. So begins an unravelling of the past; a journey with loads of twists and turns and a number of horrific incidents as well!
On a small English farm back in 1939 two brothers are fighting over the same girl and the parents have made the problem worse by having 'favourites'. The brotherly rivalry finally comes to a head one afternoon when the older one starts to show off by playing Russian Roulette. What actually happens on the farm that afternoon isn't entirely clear until the end of the film, but the incident leaves the gung-ho brother shot and paralysed, and the other (more gentle soul) ready to enlist for battle.
The story then follows the fortunes of the two brothers: one who is wheelchair bound, unable to speak and forced to watch his parents slowly destroy themselves, while the younger one runs away from the fighting and starts to work for the French Resistance.
Despite a couple of military blunders (I'm sure the aggressive Sergeant Major would have insisted on closer haircuts for all his regiment!), the war scenes are generally well-handled. The massacre of the British soldiers is particularly horrifying, and the torture of the pregnant young French girl by the SD Officers is genuinely shocking!
The story is beautifully told and the cinematography is stunning - so is the sound track - although I would have liked a few more moments of silence in some of the scenes.
Don't watch this film if you want all-out war action, because you don't get it. What you get instead is a really powerful and convincing story which will leave you both uplifted and drained! Great film! British film-making at its best!