on 8 December 2004
One of the best films from this year, if not THE best. The tigers are the main stars in this beautifully produced film which is exquisite to watch. An absolute MUST for cat lovers of all ages. As the producer comments during one of the special features "when they are little you just want to cuddle them, when they are bigger you respect them". Although an emotional charged and touching drama, the underlying message comes across loud and clear. Respect them we must to ensure their survival in the wild. Just wonderful.
'Two Brothers', a UK-French film collaboration project under the direction of Jean-Jacques Annaud (known for 'The Bear' and 'The Name of the Rose') and written by Alain Godard and Annaud, is at once the heartwarming and heartwrenching tale of two Bengal tigers, While the advertising makes it seem like a Disney-esque film, this is not really one for younger children, so parents should beware. In today's world there are many people who are not particularly nice toward wild animals; a hundred years ago, the time period during which this was set, there was even less regard for the great animals of the jungle, seen as objects for sport and amusement rather than creatures of integrity in their own right. I went with two adults, one of whom felt it necessary to leave the theatre for a brief while; there were children present in the theatre, and again I saw parents taking their children out at some of the more troublesome scenes - unfortunately, many didn't return for the happy ending. This is a great film, worth five stars without doubt, but alas, the marketing is inappropriate, and would get a single star from me.
Guy Pearce plays the 'great white hunter' character of McRory, a world-famous hunter-explorer of European origin and fame, a known author as well as second-class Indiana Jones, looking for what will sell back in the London auction houses -- he changes from animal skins and tusks to statues and antiquities. There are no other actors of wide fame, but all do a good job, from the Westerners in the French Indochine to the locals, from tribal persons to high potentates. All seem to have reasons to be against the tigers, save a few, who eventually come round and help the tiger brothers through their troubles.
The real stars of the film, of course, are the tiger cubs Kumal and Sangha, in addition to the other tigers, including the mother Tigress and the great Tiger Father. The lead trainer, Thierry Le Portier, a fellow Frenchman to Annuad who worked on 'The Bear', and trainer Randy Miller stated that 30 tigers in all were used, and one of the biggest efforts was to have tiger cubs available -- they grow so rapidly, they might not be the same size over the course of shooting. In the end, the effects and training were magnificent, and given the kinds of harrowing treatment the tigers were to have received (usually, thankfully, just off-screen), one truly hopes the 'no animals were harmed in this production' pledge at the end was in earnest.
The plot is a twisty one, following the two tiger brothers who are separated early, and each have different adventures (not all of them nice, and many downright disturbing) until they are reunited in a festival, when they are able to recapture their kinship and their brotherly playfulness. The movie has the obligatory happy ending; I was on the verge of tears from frustration and sorrow at different points of the film, but the only time I actually did shed a tear was as the sunlight pierced the tell-tale marker on one of the tigers (and those who see the film will understand this, but I don't want to give away the ending).
The settings in Cambodia and Thailand are natural settings, still undisturbed jungles in many areas, and the temple settings as the home of the tiger family is a wonderful device. The Angor Wat Temples, now very popular tourist destinations, had to be closed to such traffic during the filming. The music is dramatic and playful as appropriate, but very much in the background; rarely did I notice the music for the visuals.
A wonderful film in many ways, it is a statement for humane treatment of animals. Unfortunately, this sometimes involves disturbing scenes of mistreatment, which again makes this a film not for young children. Parental discretion and previewing is advised.
on 11 December 2007
I find myself lost for words when trying to describe this film. It's pure and undaunted power is astonishing and there was rarely a time when I found my eyes free from tears. The performance of Guy Pearce is remarkable and like nothing I have ever seen, his personal journey and his relationships with both people and his tiger 'Kumal' will take you on an emotional rollercoaster which you will not alight until the end cretits finish rolling. His performance is matched only by that of Freddie Highmore, a young actor with exceptional talents. 'Two Brothers' is not just another story of a journey, but of hope and sincerity. A truely touching story that left me in tears of both happiness and sorrow.
on 2 February 2005
This film is wonderfully created with many heartwarming and tear-jerking scenes. Much of its appeal and worth arises from the two tigers and their emotional journey, rather than a fast-paced plot line. If you are looking for a film with a gripping action storyline, this film is perhaps not for you. However, if are a fan of Born Free,and if this film has already appealed to you, then I highly reccomend it. Less predictable than you might think, there are several twists to a story that has been told in countless different ways, which sets this film apart from the likes of Born Free.
The extras take a little of the magic away from the film, so don't watch them first, but they also contain some very funny deleted scenes.
A truly wonderful and film and amazing storyline that brings the plight of a an animal on the edge of extinction sharply home.
on 12 March 2006
I feel that this is a beautiful film. Sad a tear wrenching, but a very true film. Many of the reviews have said it was to cruel, but we have to open our eyes people. Its what happens everyday, for the stupid sake of a few people buying furs. It is a very true story with a powerful ending. It makes me cry from the second it begins. I would defently reccomend watching this film. It is a strong and beautiful film and it shows us what we are doing to our endangered wildlife.
'A few years ago 50,000 wild tigers roamed free. Now there are less than 5000'
on 30 September 2006
I completely understand the people who criticised this film regarding it's u rating and it is probably not suitable for very young children. I watched it with my eight year old niece Abigail and we both loved it. we were not horrified by the cruelty in the animal shots, as we both knew it was only acting and realised, the tigers would have been expertly taken care of.A large number of tigers played the two leading roles to make sure the animals were well rested and not at all overworked, if anything the film gave us an insight and awareness of how beautiful the tiger is, it made us think about zoos,and circus's and of how tragic it is that these animals are still kept in these conditions,but overall we will remember this film for it's fantastic cinematography it was visually stunning (it helped that it was shot in high definition) I would normally only watch a film once, but I have watched this three times I rented it but I am now about to buy it (from amazon of course) so that myself and my niece can continue to enjoy this fabulous spectacle for years to come
on 1 June 2007
I loved this film. Being rather 'soft' re animals and warned by other reviewers, I sat with the tissue box handy, but although parts of the film were harrowing I didn't need the tissues - and what a lovely ending!
I'm afraid this film is true to life, deplicting human greed and cruelty towards the animal kingdom. Any animal lover would fall in love with the cubs and share the ups and downs of their separate journeys, only to be happily reunited again. Their cub antics and animal sounds are so similar to that of my own domestic cat!
I thought the film was well directed and the extra features are well worth watching with lots more shots of the cubs playing etc and an interesting documentary about tigers.
I would recommend this film to all animal lovers and children. I'm so impressed, I might invest in "The Bear" now.