Michael has everything under control: a successful military career, a beautiful wife and two daughters. His younger brother Jannik is a drifter, living on the edge of the law. When Michael is sent to Afghanistan on a UN mission the balance between the two brothers changes forever. Michael is missing in action - presumed dead - and Sarah is comforted by Jannik, who against all odds shows himself capable of taking responsibility for both himself and the family. It soon becomes clear that their feelings have developed beyond mutual sympathy. When Michael comes home, traumatized by being held prisoner in the mountains of Afghanistan, nothing is the same...Written by
It's rare to find a movie with a meaningful, political context that is also good drama. Brødre / Brothers has two interwoven story lines: one about the relationship between two brothers, the other about the difference between comfortable Western civilizations sending out soldiers to various missions and the actual war zones. These stories mirror each other and both brothers change roles during the movie: One starts in prison, the other ends up there; one is a family man; the other takes over this role after his brother's death. There is a nice ending, but I find that the only element not fitting the overall structure.
I like this also because it is well edited. Synchronization of images is used to tell the story of Michael in Afghanistan and Sarah in Denmark. Frequently a shot of Afghanistan is shown and directly followed by the same shot in Denmark: looking at a road, from a bus or car, etc.
Initially rhythm is established through a central 'Afghan' theme song. Once the characters are established in our minds, the acting takes over. I'm still wondering why Danish actors (and Scandinavian actors in general) are so good in what they do: Is that a compulsory subject in primary school there because even the children act so unbelievably natural.
The ethical dilemmas facing soldiers are well presented. Michael first has to demonstrate how a launcher works, knowing it will be used against his own people. Then comes the ultimate decision. The traumas he faces are real and reminded me of actual, similar stories of soldiers returning from Bosnia, Afghanistan or Iraq.
Susanne Bier has come out of the Dogme-movement as one of the better directors. In a world with not that many (talented) female directors she is someone to be cherished.
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