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Peter R. Hunt
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An intensely sad film about two brothers who cannot overcome their opposite perceptions of life. One brother sees and feels bad in everyone and everything, subsequently he is violent, antisocial and unable to appreciate or enjoy the good things which his brother desperately tries to point out to him. Frank understands the atrocities of life as a big picture; Joe does not. Joe is content to enjoy smaller pleasures: children, family, routine. Joe mistakenly believes he can straighten his little brother out and convince him that life is good. Frank is a cursed man. He is cut between his love for his brother and his repulsion at self-indulgent contentment. The result is a painful story of heartbreak, heartache, disappointment, despair, and the tragic side of love. Written by
Penn takes the time to develop his characters, and we almost care about them. However there are some real problems with the story here, we see no real motivation for the evil brother's behavior, and the time line is screwed up. Supposedly set in 1963, the music is late 60s/early 70s. The references and dialogue is 70s/80s. The potential for a powerful climax presents itself, and Penn allows it to slip away. But even with all these difficulties it is worth the watch, but not great.
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