The Sisters Brothers
by Jacques Audiard (2018)
could they have meant? A film might be rotten or brilliant, but why
unsatisfactory?It suggests something left unresolved.
Sisters Brothers is at once brutally violent and soothingly gentle, and
while there is a resolution of this conundrum, nailed down in the final
scene with flags and a fanfare, you can’t believe it. It’s a magical
confection and could almost be one of Eli Sisters’ dreams as he lays
introduction to Eli (John C Reilly) and his younger, yet dominant,
sibling Charlie (Joaquin Phoenix), in opening moments lit by gunfire and
moon-glowed smoke, carries all the contradictions that are played out
over the next couple of hours.
announcing their arrival, a ruthless reputation going before them, they
shoot-up a ranch so bad they’ve lost count of how many people
they’ve wasted. Six, or seven, was it?
they’ve also set fire to the barn and Eli risks his life in a failed
attempt to save the horses.Eli has a soft spot for horses, and he has a
soft spot for an old flame, too, nuzzling a red shawl she’s given him
as a memento while he masturbates.
has no visible soft spots, apart from for the liquor, and he dismisses
Eli’s doubts about their murderous career in the employ of a
mysterious character called The Commandant.
next job for him is the assassination of a chap called
Hermann Kermit Warm (Riz Ahmed) for reasons unknown, and they never ask.
Warm is being tracked by a thoughtful, gentlemanly bounty hunter named
plain John Morris (Jake Gyllenhaal).
out Warm has invented a formula for speedily revealing the gold in a
river without all the fuss of panning for it. Yet he’s not in it for
himself. He wants to use the money to establish an ideal community in
Texas, a sort or commune where everyone is equal.
Warm while waiting for the brothers to turn up and do the unpleasant
bit, Morris is sceptical about the formula but, well, warms to his
philosophy and after a bit of a scrap the pair team up on the project.
this, a few days behind, the brothers must find them to fulfil their
mission for the Commandant – or do they really have to?
is a Western in transition between barbarity and civilisation, wittily
symbolised by Eli’s enlightenment at the discovery of the toothbrush.
As he scrubs clumsily away at the muck of decades, he might be a killer
but at least his breath smells fresh.
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