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The Sisters Brothers

Make a killing. Make a living.

CBC Radio interview with author of the novel Patrick Dewitt on adapting his writing to film:

Based on Patrick Dewitt's acclaimed novel of the same name, follows two brothers - Eli (John C. Reilly) and Charlie Sisters (Joaquin Phoenix) - who are hired to kill a prospector who has stolen from their boss. The story, a genre-hybrid with comedic elements, takes place in Oregon in 1851.

"The wildest beast in The Sisters Brothers, a formula-tossing Western set in 1850s Oregon, isn’t the horse that hurtles desperately across the plain, unaware that it’ll never outrun the flames on its head, neck, and back. Nor is it the tarantula that crawls into the open mouth of a sleeping character, making its presence known only through the venom that courses through its victim overnight. Rather, it’s Charlie Sisters (Joaquin Phoenix), a shrewd but impulse-driven hired gun whose ease with violence allows him to thrive under a rainstorm or a hail of bullets, but nowhere resembling civilization.

The other half of the fearsome Sisters brothers is Eli (John C. Reilly), who increasingly finds that his self-appointed duty as his younger brother’s keeper has made him an exile from the rest of humanity. Director Jacques Audiard (Rust and Bone, the Palme d’Or–winning Dheepan, the Grand Prix–winning A Prophet) gets a surprising amount of comic mileage from Eli’s bewildered but curious adoption of a newfangled invention that never feels right in his hand: the toothbrush. The cast’s ruddy complexions, worn-out costumes, and exposure to the elements suggest Eli’s true nature. Callused by necessity, he yearns to embrace his softness. But there’s always another job, another set of foes, and never enough money to satisfy.

The Sisters Brothers is about two attempted tamings: Eli’s of his brother, and 19th-century settlers’ of the last stretch of the continental U.S. If the former plays out as a dark comedy, the latter is sheer tragedy: an ecological nightmare, a waste of idealism, a transcontinental trail of broken dreams, never-ending sacrifices to capitalism. Unlike many of his European compatriots, Audiard, a filmmaker long attuned to racial and economic issues, is more than convincing in his depiction of the American West in his English-language debut, its perceptive and compassionate details finding harmony with the script’s genre elements. But it’s the central fraternal relationship that makes this adaptation of Patrick deWitt’s novel a near-masterpiece—a simmering chase movie that gradually heats up to a searing family drama that wonders how to care for a loved one that’s impossible to live with."

Courtesy - Inkoo Kang, Slate























No screenings currently scheduled.

Directed by: 
Jacques Audiard
Running Time: 
Joaquin Phoenix, Jake Gyllenhaal, John C. Reilly, Rutger Hauer, Riz Ahmed, Carol Kane
Official site: 
Screenplay by: 
Jacques Audiard, Thomas Bidegain Based on the novel by Patrick deWitt
14A Some violence

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