Sunday, 17 March 2013

No.80 : The Brotherhood

The Brotherhood at the IMDb

Off to 1968 as Kirk Douglas tries to shoe horn is as many Mafia clichés as he can in 90 minutes - will he break the record? Fagagettaboutit!

We open as a plane begins its decent into Sicily with our focus on a nervous young man. He is rebuffed by taxi drivers at arrival when they hear his destination but one cabbie agrees to take him. He must have flown Ryanair as it takes ages for him to arrive at his destination. Meanwhile a moustachioed Kirk Douglas is also making a journey and taking his gun along for the ride.

The two meet at a ruined castle and quickly embrace - Kirk tells the guns wielding torpedoes to settle down as this is his brother. The two men have a good old chat but Kirk’s wife warns him that ‘they will send someone’ as his brother unpacks his own gun in his bedroom.

We then go into flashback mode to see how things ended up as they have.

This section of the film opens with the younger brother, Vince, getting married. He’s fresh out of the forces and asks Kirk if he can join the family firm. Kirk is made up about this but we can see that the never smooth running world of the Mafia is creaking at the edges as different factions at various tables spend the whole time glaring at each other.

Some sections of the mob are keen to modernise with a lucrative deal in electronics appealing to the new guard. Kirk is more old school and is cautious to stay in scams that he understands, which unsettles the other Dons.

Meanwhile a canary is executed and as always in these films everyone is wondering who is squealing to the Feds to save their own skin.

After some pretty complicated double crosses Kirk decides to make a stand and kills a suspected snitch. This sends him into exile to Sicily and we are quickly back where we started. With the two bothers reunited can they resolve their differences and satisfy the mob? Will ties to the Mafia supersede family loyalties?

For a film concerned with the mafia this was a dull affair with too much talking and not enough action. As the title implies ‘brotherhood’ and loyalty are closely examined but as with all mafia films they all come across as a bunch of nutters looking out for themselves. The plan here to corner and electronics market was hardly exciting and this was borne out by Vince showing Kirk lots of accounts to demonstrate how lucrative it could be. Call me old fashioned, but I was longing for a bit of honest to goodness leg breaking instead.

The film was hung on the central relationship between the two brothers and it didn’t work for me. Kirk was the fiery, headstrong one while Vince was more thoughtful and measured. This may be to show they are chalk and cheese but I didn’t see any real passion and that followed through to the denouement where the big decision was made without a second thought.

The locations in New York and Sicily were great but the cast was chock full of dull old stereotypes and the script was plodding at best. Overall how they managed to wring such a dull non-event out of the subject matter was an achievement indeed!

THE Tag Line : You won’t see this, Right?   56%

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