Eli and Charlie Sisters (John C. Reilly and Joaquin Phoenix) are western gunmen for hire. Gruffly dispatching any that would stand in their way, their benefactor The Commodore (Rutger Hauer) charges them to kill them a thief by the nam of Hermann Warm (Riz Ahmed). However as they ride to meet up with the professional tracker John Morris (Jake Gyllenhaal) who has located Hermann, a different picture emerges that will change everyone’s lives.
Although charged with a murderous quest, as the bodies stack up, the layers increasingly fall off each the brothers’ bloody reputation to reveal the real men beneath…
Echoing the same lightness of touch as John Maclean’s ‘Slow West’, ‘The Brothers Sisters’ shares the same emphasis on character over violence. Although charged with a murderous quest, as the bodies stack up, the layers increasingly fall off each the brothers’ bloody reputation to reveal the real men beneath their cowhide clothes.
Boasting a superbly range of performances from its cast, both John C. Reilly and Joaquin Phoenix convince as brothers Eli and Charlie. Whereas firebrand Charlie seems to be the de facto leader it is John C. Reilly’s understated approach to Eli that is the beating heart of this movie. Labouring over the cursory gesture of a woman or lamenting for the faithful, yet underwhelming horse that carries him, Eli is the key to both Charlie’s awakening and charming appeal of this darkly comic drama. Special mention should also be made for Riz Ahmed’s Hermann Warm whose gently nuanced yet credible delivery offers an alternative future for Jake Gyllenhaal’s ponderous tracker, John Morris.
Played out as two separate halves of a blossoming realisation, each pair’s conclusions will bind you to ‘The Sisters Brothers’ dusty trail. Replete with richly hued stops and supporting characters along the way, ‘The Sisters Brothers’ is a charming yet bloody escapade into debt and what it means to default – if only to save yourself.
Saddle up and ride hard for this satisfying western before it gets away from you.