BROTHERS AT WAR

Gaining Understanding

Content -2
Quality
None Light Moderate Heavy
Language        
Violence        
Sex        
Nudity        

Release Date: May 08, 2009

Starring: N/A

Genre: Documentary

Audience: Older teenagers and adults

Rating: R

Runtime: 110 minutes

Address Comments To:

Samuel Goldwyn, Jr., Chairman/CEO
Meyer Gottlieb, President
Samuel Goldwyn Films
9570 West Pico Blvd., 4th Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90035
Phone: (310) 860-3100
Fax: (310) 860-3195

Content:

(BBB, PPP, CC, LLL, VV, N, A, D) Very strong patriotic moral worldview with strong positive Christian references; 98 obscenities (including many “f” words) and three profanities, plus man urinates into bottle and man digs hole to defecate; a few shots of wounded soldiers and dead bodies; no sex; brief upper male nudity; brief alcohol use; brief smoking; and, nothing else objectionable.

Summary:

BROTHERS AT WAR is an interesting documentary with a dramatic storyline about an American filmmaker who travels to Iraq to find out why his two brothers and other men are fighting there. Patriotic and involving, the movie lets the story unfold rather than preaching to viewers about the war, but it contains abundant foul language, mostly the “f” word. This limits its audience.

Review:

BROTHERS AT WAR is an interesting documentary with a dramatic storyline about filmmaker Jake Rademacher. Jake travels to Iraq to find out why his brother Isaac and his brother Joe are fighting. Surprisingly, he gets imbedded in four combat units and does experience the boredom and the horrors of war. He also experiences the appreciation of the Iraqi people, and his eyes are opened to the message of the movie, that freedom is not free.

The Rademachers are an all-American family with seven children, five boys and two girls. They have strong Christian faith and are devastated when one of their sons, who is bi-polar, overdoses on medicine. Joe and Isaac, who go to war, are very bright and attractive. Jake, who came to Hollywood to become an actor, did not make it to West Point.

There’s a lot to commend about this movie. With great wisdom, the filmmakers do not take a very pro-Iraqi War stance, but allows Jake’s interactions with the soldiers and the Iraqis to build the case for America’s involvement. Starting off cynical and distant from his brothers, Jake goes through a tremendous character arc, leading to empathy and understanding. This is the type of movie that MOVIEGUIDE(r) would like to but cannot recommend for older children and up. There is some bloody violence and shots of dead bodies, but it is very minimal. What drives the movie into R-rated, extreme caution category, however, is an abundance of foul language, many of which are “f” words. One expects soldiers to use earthy language, but the stream of obscenities limits the audience, and much less would have been much more powerful. At one point, the use of the “f” word is so frequent, with so many people talking over each other, that it’s hard to determine how many are said.

It is hard for a documentary to capture and hold the audience for a feature film. Jake has done just that by structuring the movie around his conversion from cynicism to support. The movie has very few moments that sag. Many moments are very intense.

MOVEIGUIDE® commends Jake and his filmmaking, if only the movie could have reached a broader audience.

In Brief:

BROTHERS AT WAR is an interesting documentary with a dramatic storyline about filmmaker Jake Rademacher. Jake travels to Iraq to find out why his brother Isaac and his brother Joe are fighting. Surprisingly, he gets imbedded in four combat units and does experience the boredom and the horrors of war. He also experiences the appreciation of the Iraqi people and his eyes are opened to the message of the movie, that freedom is not free.

There’s a lot to commend about this movie. It does not take a very pro-Iraqi War stance, but allows Jake’s interactions with the soldiers and the Iraqis to build the case for America’s involvement. Starting off cynical and distant from his brothers, Jake goes through a tremendous character arc, leading to empathy and understanding. This is the type of movie that we cannot but would like to recommend for young adults and up. There is some bloody violence and shots of dead bodies, but it is very minimal. What drives the movie into extreme caution category, however, is an abundance of foul language, many of which are “f” words. The stream of obscenities limits the audience to adults.