The Sisters Brothers (2018) Review

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RATING: 2/5

[SPOILERS]

A journey to find a chemist for their boss puts two brothers at odds and they must find some way to reconcile those differences.

I’m not a shallow guy. I’m not asking for all westerns to be the same shoot-em-ups and action-frenzy flicks. I do appreciate change, but still, can it at least captivate me.

John C. Reily (Eli Sisters) and Joaquin Phoenix (Charles Sisters) were the best characters in the movie. They delivered the best performances and their relationship held throughout in a fine matter. Both had separate yet unique personalities that created a good contrast between the two.

One would drink, be bitter, and act harshly. While one would be calm and collective. As the film progressed their relationship did take turns and it evolved into something where one can feel sorrow for what was happening, especially for Charles.

The other prominent actors, Jake Gyllenhaal and Riz Ahmed, were pretty good. But I do wish there was maybe one or two more scenes with them. As there wasn’t enough for their speedy and unrealistic development.

Composer Alexandre Desplat did construct some well-orchestrated pieces. It fit with the world and tone that the movie was showcasing.

Whoever edited the trailer did not do the film justice, in the slightest. One expected this to be a comedic western, but the comedy was lacking. Not to say there wasn’t any of it in here. I did chuckle at some scenes. But it seemed like the movie didn’t know what type of western to be. Comedic or dramatic? This was more drama, with the comedy coming in weird moments.

A scene with a spider crawling into Riley’s mouth or Phoenix talking to the camera on how he knew the whereabouts of the men the brothers were looking for. They were supposed to be funny but how the scenes were played out, it came off as awkward and juxtaposed with the dominant drama elements that the film was more in-tune with.

As far as the drama elements, the film did alright. As I mentioned the performances of the brothers were good and you feel what each was feeling. But at the same time, one doesn’t because of how the story progressed in a cliche, slow, and bland manner.

With wanting to have more scenes with Gyllenhaal and Ahmed, there needed to be more with the Riley and Phoenix. I mean one got a fair understanding of the strained relationship, but it wasn’t really all too interesting. Because of this, the pacing was slow and/or choppy at points. One couldn’t get fully invested in the drama.

This is a western that is not for everyone and I can see why it bombed at the box office. The performances were pretty good, music can nice, some gorgeous shots of the wilderness, and I do appreciate the change in genre. But if one loves action westerns, one won’t get it here that’s for sure. This is a drama that delivers a story albeit not bad, it was interesting somewhat. But it could have been better with a stronger focus on what it wanted to become or achieve.

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