December 16, 2009 - Tobey Maguire and Jake Gyllenhaal play brothers who couldn't be more different in this R-rated remake of a 2004 Danish film. Natalie Portman, Sam Shepard and Mare Winningham also star.

Maguire plays Sam Cahill, a straight-arrow captain in the Marines. Gyllenhaal is his bank robbing brother, Tommy. As the movie opens, Sam is preparing for another deployment to Afghanistan. But, before he leaves, he picks up Tommy, who's just been paroled. The family, especially Sam's wife, Grace (Portman), and father (Shepard), don't exactly welcome Tommy back with open arms. But, once Sam is gone, Tommy works his way into their good graces by fixing up Grace's house and by helping her look after her two daughters.

Meanwhile, in Afghanistan, Sam's helicopter gets shot down. Word comes to Grace that Sam is dead but she "doesn’t feel it." In reality, Sam and a Marine private survive the crash only to be taken prisoner by an Afghan warlord.

Sam eventually returns to the US and to Grace only to find that Tommy has become close to Grace and the kids. Jealousy about the situation and guilt over his actions in Afghanistan threaten to destroy any hope Sam has of reclaiming his family and his life.

Overall review: ** Maguire and Gyllenhaal were fine in their roles, but Portman always seemed to be projecting a different emotion than the one called for at the time. Beyond that, the story itself felt disjointed and the abrupt ending didn’t help. The film may be called Brothers, but it treated Sam and Tommy more like two acquaintances than like two men who need each other to survive.