Set in the year 1850 in Oregon, a pair of brothers are hired assassins for work (also known as ‘guns for hire’) and over time have inherited the name “The Sisters Brothers” (Sisters being their real surname and they are brothers). The two brothers, Eli Sisters (John C. Reilly) & Charlie Sisters (Joaquin Phoenix), are hired to hunt down a man who is known as a “gold prospector”. This film shows us their journey as they encounter different people, towns and dangerous situations along the way.
For those who are not aware, this film is based on the well-known novel by Patrick DeWitt.
From the opening of the film, the western theme was alive in the surround speakers as we are greeted with a night time gunfight. The sound of each footstep as well as seeing sparks fly out of guns, grabbed me instantly. From an audio point of view, the film is creative and rather enjoyable.
The Sisters Brothers film has been promoted as a comedy as well as a Drama & Adventure film. After watching the movie, I honestly couldn’t agree with the term “comedy”. Perhaps this is depending on the viewer.
As the brothers ride and journey from city to city, many in-depth topics about their past and future are discussed. Many situations they get in are also dealt with more in a severe tone.
Although our film is loaded with great performances and a great audio track, the film’s plot is a little strange and random to me. Like calling this film a comedy, the film’s plot and viewer’s enjoyment could vary from viewer to viewer. At certain moments I found the film a little confusing and slightly dull. I also felt certain scenes didn’t serve any significant reason or purpose regarding the film’s plot and progress. To make matters worse, I even found the film’s ending slightly disappointing (and random). At the end of the film, I honestly didn’t feel I gained much for my investment other than a well-performed and a great sounding western cinema.
As a performance, I must also praise the surprising work of actor John C. Reilly, who delivers a more serious character compared to what he is best known for (outrageous comedies). Joaquin Phoenix gives an excellent performance, but sadly he offers nothing out of the norm. I was also surprised when actor Jake Gyllenhaal made an appearance on screen. For the sake of any spoilers, I’ll just say he was terrific as always.
Overall, The Sisters Brothers will get praise from a selected audience, but sadly I don’t appear to be one of them. While the film sounds excellent and is acted well (in particular from John C. Reilly), the film’s plot at times can feel sluggish and selected scenes don’t always bring a real purpose. As for the ending.
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Review Written by Peter Walkden