New York, 1974. Fifty-year-old Chris (Clive Owen) has just been released on good behavior after several years in prison following a gangland murder. Reluctantly waiting for him outside the gates is his younger brother, Frank (Billy Crudup), a cop with a bright future. Chris and Frank have always been different, and their father, Leon (James Caan), who raised them alone, seems to favor Chris despite all his troubles. Yet blood ties are the ones that bind, and Frank, hoping that his brother has changed, is willing to give him a chance - he shares his home, finds him a job, and helps him reconnect with his children and his ex-wife, Monica (Marion Cotillard). But Chris' inevitable descent back into a life of crime proves to be the last in a long line of betrayals, and after his brother's latest transgressions, Frank banishes him from his life. But it's already too late, as the brothers' destiny is bound together, forever.Written by
This picture entered into and selected to screen out of competition at the Cannes Film Festival in 2013. See more »
Subway logo used from 2002 to 2016 Visible in background at the junk yard while Chris is banging his head. See more »
[to his son, Frank]
Listen, your mother... your mother was a bitch. She was a real bitch. She beat the shit out of your brother and sister on a daily basis with whatever she had in her hand. She was a violent drunk, she was a twisted fucking slut.
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All the ingredients were there and the whole time watching it, I was rooting for this to be an intense, potentially "epic" '70s crime movie, and at first, it FELT like it could easily be just that, and then comes some contrived plot devices that bring you back into present day.
I won't spoil anything though, read the summary for a summary. The movie easily captures the '70s with its set pieces and locations and even gives you the feel of a movie made in that era. There are moments of brilliance that come in the form of suspenseful buildups, great direction, and editing and score work that turns some scene transitions into awesomeness. With a 2 hour running time, I had no issues with it feeling long or boring. The acting is impressive on all accounts (some chemistry could be a bit weird though) and for about the first hour I was engaged and feeling, 'wow, if they could just keep this up,' and then of course, unfortunately, they don't.
At some point some things just start to feel like their just being tossed in. I think one of its main problems is that the only real character development is placed on the two leads, so you can empathize when it calls for it and understand why the leads feel and act as they do, but only towards each other, and not always in the context of their interactions with supporting characters. The story calls for enough twists and turns that there is no room to do much developing with the supporting characters and this causes certain situations to happen rather abruptly or seem forced in order to get to the next stage. This could all be easily overlooked if it didn't happen so often (and at critical moments) and continually cause me to lose my suspension of disbelief while viewing an, otherwise, very well made movie.
Problems with plot are highly subjective so I still recommend this and am sure people will find what they were looking for, I ALMOST did. 6.5/10
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