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Two Brothers - Preview & US reaction



Preview by: Jack Foley

JEAN-Jacques Annaud, the acclaimed director of The Bear, appears to have struck gold again with his latest, about two tigers.

Two Brothers is described as an ‘extraordinary motion picture event for the whole family’, which has mostly succeeded in getting the US critics to sing its praises.

Set not so long ago, in a distant land, Two Brothers tells the story of twin tiger cubs - one shy and gentle, the other, bold and fierce - who are born among the temple ruins of an exotic jungle, but are one day separated by fate.

The bold brother is sold off to a circus, where homesickness and living in a cage rob him of his spirit, while the shy cub becomes the beloved companion for the governor's lonely young son, until an accident forces the family to give him away to a man who resolves to break his gentle nature and turn him into a fighter for sport.

When they are fully grown, the brothers find themselves reunited - but as forced enemies pitted against each other.
The film stars Guy Pearce (Memento, LA Confidential) as the adventurer whose tragic intervention into the idyllic lives of the twin cubs forever intertwines their fates.

Two Brothers was filmed on location in Cambodia and Thailand, and the screenplay was written by Jean-Jacques Annaud and Alain Godard (The Name of the Rose, Enemy At the Gates) from an original story by Annaud.
It is due to open in the UK on July 23.

 

US reaction

Just as he did with The Bear, Annaud’s skill at filming with animals (one of the three no-no’s of movie-making), seems to have struck a chord with US critics, despite the odd misgiving.

The Chicago Tribune led the plaudits, stating that ‘there's something simple yet miraculous about watching these beautiful animals interact with the wild and each other, even if their actions are being manipulated for the sake of drama’.

While the Minneapolis Star Tribune opined that ‘it's an unabashed feel-good film, but a surprisingly intelligent one that honestly earns each smile and every tender moment’.

The New York Times wrote that it is ‘a family-friendly movie made for the same audience that likes to imagine talking animals’.

And Village Voice noted that by ‘returning to the territory of his 1989 hit The Bear, Jean-Jacques Annaud delivers another refreshingly mature fable of bestial devotion’.

Positive, too, were the words of Entertainment Weekly’s critic, who wrote that ‘Annaud and his deft production team create believable dramatic characters without compromising the dignity of the animals they've borrowed as stars’.

But there were some words of caution. The Hollywood Reporter warned that ‘while audiences will gasp at the audacity of using real animals instead of drawings, the tale behind the technical achievement is stale and outmoded’.

And Variety lamented that it ‘charms when the quadripeds stalk the action, but creaks when the bipeds open their mouths’.

But the Dallas Morning News was more positive, stating that ‘the story never reaches the heart-pounding heights that Mr. Annaud so obviously intended, but there is both sentiment and fun along the way, and the feline brethren move with expected grace and majesty’.

And the Los Angeles Times brings this overview to a close by stating that ‘if you're familiar with [Annaud's] previous work you can accurately guess this venture's strengths and weaknesses’.

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