First Hit: This film had drama, comedy and interesting moments that were really strong, but overall it was an odd film.
The title alone will tip you off that this is an unconventional film. It opens with Eli and Charlie Sisters (John C. Reilly and Joaquin Phoenix respectively) in a night time fire fight with some hombres in a cabin. The brothers are deadly and kill everyone and because the barn catches fire as well, the horses burn. One of the scenes that stuck with me throughout was when one of the horses runs out of the barn, on fire. This scene led me to believe that this film could have some difficult to watch scenes, and it did.
Think spider. Think horse mauled by bear. Think suicide. Think chemical burns. Think amputations. Yes, this film has large number of overtly horrible scenes, but there are also thoughtful scenes.
The Sisters Brothers work for the Commodore (Rutger Hauer). They are his hit men. When he wants someone killed, he sends them. After the initial scene, there are a few scenes that attempt to show the brother’s dynamics. Charlie is the younger and wilder of the two brothers. His back story, of killing their father, is briefly explored. Charlie also, like his father, drinks and gets drunk a lot. Eli works at being more thoughtful and progressive. Watch his look in using a toothbrush for the first time. Yet, when push comes to shove he’ll do anything and kill anyone to protect his brother and himself.
Their latest job for the Commodore is to track down Hermann Kermit Warm (Riz Ahmed) who has created a secret formula that, when poured into water, highlights the gold. It makes the gold glow and thereby easy to pluck out of the water bed. Warm is being tracked by John Morris (Jake Gyllenhaal) for the Sisters brothers. He leaves them letters at towns along the way telling them where they are headed.
In one town, Mayfield, named after the town owner, Mayfield (Rebecca Root) the brothers run into a little trouble. She is controlling and decides she can make a name for herself if she kills the brothers. Sending groups of men after the Sisters, they all find their demise at the end of the Sisters Brothers' guns.
When the brothers finally catch up with Warm and Morris, they’ve a change of heart about their plans of working with the Commodore and together with Warm and Morris decide to create riches for themselves and move on.
The ending was a nice surprise and it did complete an odd and interesting story.
Reilly was fantastic as the older more thoughtful but loyal brother. I enjoyed his thoughtful dialogue about his life. The bit with the shawl and the hooker was interesting and moving. Phoenix was strong as the slightly touched, yet smart brother. The intensity of the brother’s dinner conversation in a San Francisco restaurant was excellent on both actor’s part. How their conversation elevated was wonderfully done. Gyllenhaal was wonderful as the bookish, thoughtful tracker and writer for the Commodore. Ahmed was wonderful as the chemist and dreamer of an egalitarian society. Root was strong as the matriarch of the town named after her. Hauer had a minor, yet pivotal role. Carol Kane (as Sisters Brothers’ mother) was great. Loved seeing Kane in a role again. Perfect casting decision. Jacques Audiard and Thomas Bidegain wrote an odd, yet interesting and thought-provoking script. Audiard made some amazing choices about scenes and the scenery that this movie was shot in. I thought the San Francisco city scenes to be interesting as well as the Sisters’ dialogue while in the city.
Overall: Despite some difficult scenes to watch, this was an odd film, but the chemistry between the actor’s characters was amazingly wonderful.