52.6 F
Fort Worth
Friday, October 23, 2020
Culture Review: Phoenix and Reilly excel as 'The Sisters Brothers'

Review: Phoenix and Reilly excel as ‘The Sisters Brothers’

Other News

Exxon’s oil slick

Exxon Mobil is slashing its capital spending budget for 2020 by 30% due to weak demand caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and a market...

Folk music’s Mark Twain: 7 Essential tracks from John Prine,

NEW YORK (AP) — Some people, the songs just come out of them. For nearly half a century, they tumbled out of John Prine...

Tarrant County records another COVID-19 death

Tarrant County Public Health (TCPH) on Wednesday, April 8 reported that a resident of Euless has died as the result of the COVID-19 virus....

Tradition stymied: A year unlike any since WWII for Augusta

The Masters is so intertwined with Augusta, they added an extra day to spring break.You see, the first full week of April isn't just...

Joaquin Phoenix and John C. Reilly might not be obvious picks to play brothers, but French director Jacques Audiard made an inspired choice by casting them as such in “The Sisters Brothers .”

By the end, it’s obvious that these two seasoned vets of both absurdist comedy and drama are in fact the only two actors who could have made sense of the skilled but simple assassins, Charlie (Phoenix) and Eli Sisters (Reilly) at the center of this unconventional Western. Based on a novel by Patrick deWitt, “The Sisters Brothers” ambitiously mixes humor, drama, action and art house serenity into a vexing but strangely compelling whole that keeps you guessing till the end.

Set in 1851, at the height of the gold rush, these two middle-aged siblings are a team, born of violence into a violent world. Eli and Charlie are not sophisticated, but they are very good at what they do — killing people before they kill them. As Eli explains at one point, once you kill one man, they’ve got a father, friends, cohorts and any number of people who will then try to hunt you down. And the cycle of killings continue.

They work for a shadowy figure they call the Commodore who gives them jobs and they take care of it. You get the sense this time that it’s a little more complicated than usual, though, as the Commodore has enlisted a scout, John Morris (played by Jake Gyllenhaal who has the interesting distinction of being the only one in the cast attempting to affect a period appropriate accent) to track down a chemist Hermann Kermit Warm (a very empathetic Riz Ahmed) who will then be turned over to the Sisters brothers to ostensibly torture.

Warm has discovered a chemical formula that makes finding gold easier, which he is a little too loose-lipped about and thus has found himself the target of some dangerous men who would like to steal his idea. But the story doesn’t quite go as expected, and tenuous friendships and bonds are formed between the men. It makes for some interesting conversations, moments and a truly horrifying climax.

The most surprising thing about “The Sisters Brothers” is the humor. There is a running joke where Charlie comes to hate Morris because of the pretentious words he uses in his letters (Phoenix is so good at nailing befuddled rage), and a visual gag with Eli and a toothbrush, which he’s just discovered.

In this almost dumb and dumber pairing, Eli is the slightly smarter one, the one who wishes for stability, a wife and peace. His prized possession is a red scarf that was given to him by a woman he loves. Charlie teases him mercilessly about this. Charlie is the drunk, the violent one and the one that Eli has resigned himself to protecting because of an incident in their childhood.

You might be surprised by how much you end up caring about Eli and Charlie over the course of this journey, and, again, it’s all because of Phoenix and Reilly who excellently manage all the various tones in the film. And of course, as expected in any Western, the landscapes and set design are all beautiful and transportive. “The Sisters Brothers” takes a bit of getting used to at the start, but the rewards are worth it.

“The Sisters Brothers,” an Annapurna Pictures release, is rated R by the Motion Picture Association of America for “violence including disturbing images, language, and some sexual content.” Running time: 121 minutes. Three stars out of four.


MPAA Definition of R: Restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.


Follow AP Film Writer Lindsey Bahr on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ldbahr

Latest News

Show your support for the Margarita party

Want to party? Want to vote? Want to political party? Want to show...

In a pickle: Best Maid turns 90

Fort Worth Business Press (TX) - October 15, 2016 Author/Byline: Rick Mauch FWBP Features WriterSection: Briefs

Binge-Worthy Streaming Shows

Detours, Diversions and Escapes to Surreal Places and Times Long PastBy HOWARD BARBANELTraditional network TV and even some venerable cable networks have...

38 & Vine wine tasting room reopens

38 & Vine reopened Oct. 24 with a new outdoor patio in compliance with the regulatory orders announced by Gov. Greg Abbott...

Riscky’s Barbeque celebrates 93 years with 93-cent specials

Now in its 93rd year, Riscky’s Barbeque is celebrating with 93 cent food specials and gift card giveaways, starting Monday, October 26,...