Movie Review: Two Brothers (2004)

Starring: Guy Pearce, Freddie Highmore and Jean-Claude Dreyfus

Directed by: Jean-Jacques Annaud

Two tigers are separated as cubs and taken into captivity. One ends up in a local circus while the other is used as a collectors item by a rich powerful prince, kept locked away until needed. The brothers get reunited by chance when they are forced to fight to the death for the pleasures of people.

So, for me watching Two Brothers has been eleven years in the making. My first job out of school was working in a supermarket in the entertainment section and Two Brothers was one of the trailers that I’d watch and hear at least twenty time a day on a loop. You would’ve thought seeing it that often would put me off watching it but I’ve been intrigued by the movie since then and now I can finally check it off my list.

I found Two Brothers to be a good watch despite the nature of the movie. Two tiger cubs stolen away from their parents and sold into different lives of captivity. The setting of the movie was 1920’s Cambodia where the animal poaching trade was rife, selling of elephant tusks and tiger skins a regular occurrence and seemingly part of everyday life. The tiger cubs were born in and lived within an old ruined temple deep within a jungle when an explorer comes along with his team to steal the artefacts from the temple and sell them when he comes across the tiger family. One cub gets taken and eventually sold to a circus to replace its existing one while the other cub ends up being taken in by a French Administrator who gifts the Tiger to his son Raoul until being sold to a rich and powerful Prince to be collected and used when needed for fighting. Both brothers end up being forced to fight each other to the death for sport while the locals and rich Europeans watch for enjoyment.

The acting in this movie was overall of very low quality but Two Brothers is not going to be judged based on the lack of acting ability on display. This movie is all about the story of the tiger cubs which was told extremely well and the way in which it was filmed was masterful. I throughly enjoyed the documentary style in which the movie had at times and the poor acting and script writing didn’t take much away from the movie overall.

The one thing Two Brothers made me do more than anything else was hate people even more than I already do. I really do feel that humankind has destroyed this world throughout history and are continuing to do so to this day. Many animals have become extinct due to being hunted by us and the little factoid that comes across the screen at the end of the movie is enough to enrage many people. Displaying the fact that there was once 100,000 of these tigers in the wild almost 100 years ago but now there is only 5,000 left is a little saddening that people can so easily kill off a species without giving it a second thought. The most heart wrenching part of the movie is knowing that animal poaching like this still happens to this day, especially within the less developed third world where animals rights are either non-existent or not abided by and although this movie is set close to a hundred years ago it could so easily be set in the here and now.

In conclusion, I enjoyed the movie despite getting angered by its subject matter. The camera work, the story of the cubs and message behind the story is well delivered and masks the poor acting which is on display from the majority of the cast.

7/10

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