Thursday, June 3, 2010

Brotherhood of War

This was one of those films I discovered and was so blown away by I started to make copies from my VCD and hand off to anyone who I thought might be moved. Most people thought I was nuts but then they saw the movie and most of the people I gave the original VHS tape to upgrade to their own DVD.

When North Korea invades the South, two brothers are forcibly drafted into the army. The older of the two, hoping to win a medal and ticket home for his younger brother, begins going on every suicide mission offered. This, however, puts a strain on his relationship with his brother and those in the platoon. Worse the course of the war has several nasty turns waiting for them...

Even though I love the film I'm of two minds about this film. Despite the fact this is a graphic example of both the physical and psychic effects of war, the narrative is more than a bit disjointed (especially on the first go round). The film is loosely connected snapshots of the course of the war, beginning right before the invasion, then several weeks later before jumping about a month at a time to certain key events. I'm sure that had I better grasp of the history of the war I would have understood the events better. I felt lost and wished there had been more explanation. The lack of a narrative that follows all the way from start to finish hurts the film since we're moved a bit too much from place to place and situation to situation

But the course of the war is not the purpose of the film, rather its the relationship between two brothers. How war changes them and everything in and around them except the love they have for each other. Its a bit hokey but its dead on, just ask anyone who's ever loved their sibling unquestioningly. You understand how one brother would spend 50 years trying to find the other.

And then there are the battle scenes which are wonderful and frightening and seem to be the total chaos that war really is. People die horribly and the experience is far from fun.

Is the movie worth seeing?

Yes. Its a kick in the pants and a thump in your heart. It clearly shows the cost of war not only on men but on families.

I can't recommend this film enough. Yea, sure I have reservations but the film has stayed with me, and with everyone I've given copies to. It is, even with its flaws one of the best war films out there.

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