Posted Apr 03 2019

The Sisters Brothers - This Movie Doesn't Quite Manage the Rocks

Dir: Jacques Audiard

Starring Joaquin Phonenix, John C. Reilly, Jake Gyllenhaal, Riz Ahmed

The existential western saddles up and rides in again. And to middling effect at best. Phoenix and Reilly are the two titular brothers with the somewhat silly name that never really plays as humorous. Indeed, while the film has a sense of humour, it is very rarely actually funny, despite giving the impression it would like to be. Hired by the mysterious Commadore (who eventually shows up as a dead Rutger Hauer), they are searching for Ahmed, who has teamed up with Gyllenhaal (the first man sent out to retrieve him), all heading west, all eventually consumed by their desire for gold in the San Francisco Gold Rush of the early 1850s.

Ahmed is a scientist who claims to have a formula for finding said gold in the water, but it is a highly caustic substance and as each man becomes consumed by their greed, thus are they physically damaged by this apparently wonderful solution.

Audiard (making his English language debut) hits a languorous tone for his film from the off and, whilst concerned more with character than anything else, never really fully gets to grips with any of the central four in any satisfying way. It becomes more intriguing as it progresses, as the men start to fall apart and find themselves facing up to the consequences of their actions. But, despite good attempts from all four, it never really finds its heart or meshes in a way that is more involving.



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