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.
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
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
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