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Set in 1967 in New York City's Public Morals Division, where cops walk the line between morality and criminality as the temptations that comes from dealing with all kinds of vice can get the better of them.
This angst-filled tale of three Irish-Catholic brothers explores men's relationships with women. Three different situations are set up on parallel plotlines, with each brother facing a different kind of crisis. Their common bond as family, as well as close lifelong friends, allows them to express their feelings frankly and intimately, as they talk and discuss their concerns among each other. Jack finds himself in a marriage gone stale and under pressure to start a family that he does not yet feel ready for. Barry, dedicated to his film career and almost pathologically averse to any type of commitment in a relationship, is suddenly artistically successful and finds true love, both for the first time and both pulling him in opposite directions. Patrick is torn between his love for his religion and ethnic heritage and his love for Susan, his longtime Jewish girlfriend. Ultimately, they are all asked to resist temptation of one sort or another, with various poignant outcomes. Written by
Tad Dibbern <DIBBERN_D@a1.mscf.upenn.edu>
'The Brothers McMullen', written, directed by and starring Edward Burns (on an extremely low-budget), invites us into the cosy relationship between three Irish-American brothers and their own relationships with God and members of the opposite sex. It is a conventional wisdom that a good story needs a beginning, a middle and an end, yet 'The Brothers McMullen' seems to be all middle - and engagingly so. Burns gives us a glimpse into the lives of these three brothers as they struggle to find their way through personal emotional turning points and re-evaluate their belief systems. The film is dominated by perceptive, sensitive and realistic dialogue throughout. The dilemmas of these three brothers are instantly recognisable to anyone in their twenties or thirties, their inner conflicts easy to identify with. This film is beautifully acted, and particularly likeable is Mike McGlone as the youngest brother who desperately tries to hold on to what he believes is his genuine Catholic conviction whilst searching for 'true love'. Burns' script is witty, warm, honest and wonderfully unpretentious. Burns himself turns in a great performance of the ever-maligned man who is 'afraid of commitment', yet somehow manages to remain intensely appealing and prevents his character from appearing to be a cliché. A rare gem among contemporary movies - one which is fuelled by words and not actions. Refreshing.
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