The Sisters Brothers Movie Review

The Sisters Brothers movie poster

I sort of hate writing movie reviews about good movies. The acting is great, the writing is great, the directing is great, blah blah blah you probably just looked at my letter grade.

So here I am, writing my review of The Sisters Brothers, a slightly offbeat and somewhat unconventional western about two brothers who aren’t sisters—bot who are guns for hire. The brothers love each other even if they don’t necessarily like each other, and who better than to play such classy gents than Joaquin Phoenix and John C. Reilly?

Both are excellent, Phoenix playing the carefree and violent drunk who is a little too carefree with his preceding reputation and Reilly the slightly more lovable and sympathetic brother who pays prostitutes to hand him a scarf in a kind way and enjoys practicing his very first toothbrush. The two actors have great chemistry with each other and bring significant depth to their characters in a western that is very much about character depth.

The Sisters brothers are on the trail of a chemist seeking riches, played by Riz Ahmed in a role that is just a tad more interesting than his villain turn in Venom, hitting theaters the same week. Ahmed is paired with Jake Gyllenhaal, who delivers a quirky, memorable performance as some dude who works for the same dude the Sisters brothers work for even though he doesn’t like that dude any more than the Sisters brothers do.

The Sisters Brothers, directed by Jacques Audiard (A Prophet), is a beautifully crafted action-drama-comedy-western that seamlessly blends the genres into a highly entertaining and often captivating tale that is simple on plot but strong on interesting characters—and, of course, a few shootouts. Audiard satisfyingly turns the traditional western on its side—Audiard often keeps the action at a distance, the machismo to a minimum, and the romance nonexistent (replaced with plenty of bromance)—while still somehow staying true to what you expect from a western.

If you’re still reading, you just read four paragraphs that are the equivalent of blah blah blah the movie is really good. Congrats. I don’t necessarily see me re-watching The Sisters Brothers over and over again like some western classics (the unconventional aspects that make the movie so interesting make it less desirable for a repeat), but there is no denying that this is a superbly made, terrifically acted western. Blah blah blah, blah blah blah.

Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.

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