BROTHERS | Movie Release, Showtimes & Trailer | Cinema Online
Movie Details

BROTHERS

The death of a triad leader brought in a chain of events that will change the relationship of two brothers forever. When their father is killed, the elder steps up to take over the family business - a triad headed by his father. While he tries to legitimise his father`s business empire, rival triad members who disapprove of his revolutionary ways frame him. A cocky police inspector hounds him and vows to put him in prison forever but he summons his younger brother to return from abroad in an attempt to take over the family business. Still, nobody knows if this is just his plan to play his brother as a scapegoat and the two struggle to understand the true meaning of family.

Language: Cantonese
Subtitle: NA
Classification: 18PL
Release Date: 18 Oct 2007
Genre: Action / Drama
Running Time: 1 Hour 45 Minutes
Distributor: RAM ENTERTAINMENT
Cast:
Director:
Format: NA

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Review
Writer: Ezekiel Lee Zhiang Yang

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Watch this if you liked: "Election"

While Tony Leung is somewhere wiping the sweat off his testicles from his BDSM sex romp with Tang Wei in a little movie called "Lust, Caution", the rest of the one-time 'TVB tigers' are having a nice get-together in the aptly titled triad offering, "Brothers".

Considering that this effort is widely seen as Andy Lau's helping hand to his theatrical 'brothers', it's surprising that the film doesn't appear to be a forced project at all. Flying in the face of popular assumption, "Brothers" comes off as an immediately mature piece of film, although it may not guarantee itself a place alongside recent crowd-pleasing triad movies such as the "Election" series.

Sometime in the last 10 to 15 years, Hong Kong gangster fare decided to be more realistic - and that set the tone for the celebrated "Infernal Affairs" trilogy to banish the "Young & Dangerous" franchise to the kiddies DVD bargain bin. Bleak and unglamorously dark, "Brothers" does one better than most movies of this genre by draining you - in a frustratingly good way. 20 minutes in, the fate of all the characters appear sealed and yet the movie encourages you to root for those who are doomed anyhow, against your better judgment.

Interestingly, fate is also a theme in "Brothers", where the patriarch of a criminal family separates his two sons by sending one abroad in fear of a religious foretelling by temple monks. Years on, the elder brother helms the family business while the younger is struggling as an IT student in America. Bad blood between rival contemporary Uncle Nine Fingers (who's still unhappy about his nine fingers) and the patriarch is carried through to their respective sons, played by Michael Miu and Ken Tong. Enter Eason Chan as the IT student to throw an unknown quantity into the conflict - does the elder want the younger to die, as prophesised?

Serious stuff, really - although lacking the meditation in, say, "Protege" or the elegance of "Blood Brothers", both of which were served earlier on in the year. The movie has strong negative overtones, and in that, extremely successful in resonating Chinese sentiments behind triad life. Globalisation is to blame if the Chinese diaspora fails to understand the magnitude of meaning behind the words and motives in the film.

At any level, "Brothers" is never boring - but it is quite tiring. "Brothers" even tires you to the point of not caring for the film's only actress, a sensual gangster's moll-cum-lawyer played by Crystal Huang. Therein lies the strength of the picture - it refuses to do the things which other gangster movies do to bring out the feel-good factor.

The most it did go with is some twisted comedy, as Andy Lau and Lam Ka Tung indulge in cop banter for a disarming backdrop to the seriousness of the affairs that were unravelling. Police subculture is sadly brutal but the sick dialogue between ever-laughing triad bosses are scarier still.

Unlike the cold characters in "Brothers", the film is never judge, jury and executioner. To risk being overzealous, it is comparable to even the textbook film "Godfather" in avoiding an opinion as much as possible. Better yet, "Brothers" lets the viewer ponder on the inescapability of fate and family - while suggesting a loaded gun at the end of every path. After all, it's always been about money and power for five thousand years.

Cinema Online, 23 September 2008

   
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Classification
U - General viewing for all ages
P12 - Parental guidance required for audiences under the age of 12.
13 - For audiences aged 13 years old and above.
16 - For audiences aged 16 years old and above.
18 - For 18+ with elements for mature audiences
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