the sisters brothers
Director: Jacques Audiard (A prophet, rust and bone)
Joaquin Phoenix, John C. Reilly, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Riz Ahmed
REVIEWER: lyall carter
In 1850s Oregon, the infamous duo of assassins, Eli and Charlie Sisters, chase a gold prospector and his unexpected ally.
It seems like a long time since a really good Western. Gone are the Hollywood days when nearly every studio would pump copious amounts out at a time. Westerns are not ‘in vogue’ - anything in spandex or with a cape is. Which is not the only reason why The Sisters Brothers is a welcome return to the Western. It's a darn good movie too.
It's 1851, and Charlie and Eli Sisters are both brothers and assassins, boys grown to men in a savage and hostile world. The Sisters brothers find themselves on a journey through the Northwest, bringing them to the mountains of Oregon, a dangerous brothel in the small town of Mayfield, and eventually, the gold rush land of California - an adventure that tests the deadly family ties that bind.
The Sisters Brothers has all the makings of a great western - two superb leads, a cracking story, gun slinging in crowded saloons, and the wide open plains.
It’s the quality of the story that puts the crack in this Western’s whip, as it rattles along at a great pace with not only great lead characters but some well constructed supporting characters too.
The story’s narrative (I won’t give away the great surprise) takes an interesting, veering turn from where you think it’s going to be headed which is a mature and a more ‘I could see how that would happen in real life’ place for the story to land.
I hope we get to see Joaquin Phoenix and John C. Reilly team up together again because these to riffing off one another are just brilliant. You are completely sold on the idea that these two are brothers. They fight, quarrel, and generally get nasty with each other when the situation requires it. They are a joy to behold.
A western that heads for new horizons than the tried and true trail, The Sisters Brothers is a cracking good fresh Western led brilliantly by Phoenix and Reilly.