A film about two brothers across the open trail during the gold rush. The Sisters Brothers are more than just two uniquely named guns for hire.
Starring Joaquin Phoenix and John C. Reilly as the titular Sisters Brothers this western follows Charlie Sisters (Phoenix) and Eli Sisters (Reilly) two hitmen as they are sent out to hunt down a young prospector who owes money to their boss the Commodore (Rutger Hauer).
The Sisters Brothers is a fascinating film filled with stellar performances from its intimate cast. You have Phoenix and Reilly bouncing off each other like they are a true family. They have a biting rapport, each throwing cutting barbs at each other as any sibling would.
Reilly comes across as the well-meaning but less equipped elder Sisters brother with Phoenix being the more aggressive and confident sibling. Throughout the course of the film you learn much about the two brothers. Their wants, their needs (in the case of Charlie it is usually a large quantity of alcohol) and how they both feel about their lives as hitmen (Eli wants out of the life as he see’s them living on borrowed time).
Being chased by these two colourful individuals are John Morris (Jake Gyllenhaal) and Hermann Kermit Warm (Riz Ahmed). Hermann is the prospector of interest while John is an individual Hermann meets along his journey to San Fransisco. This double act is far more intelligent than its counterpart and I have to say whenever Ahmed and Gyllenhaal were onscreen I was transfixed.
The dialogue coming out of their mouths was fascinating and both Ahmed and Gyllenhaal delivered it with such gusto that I thoroughly enjoyed myself every time.
Director Jacques Audiard adds a rustic flavour to The Sisters Brothers. There’s a warmth to the colour palette of the film which is at times at stark contrast to the violence that is a part of this story. In this sense, The Sisters Brothers is quite an unusual beast.
From its striking cinematography that shows off the beauty and picturesque wonder of the time to its familiar and dark humour that anyone with a sibling will get there is a lot to root for in this film especially if you are a fan of westerns.
There is a sense of aimlessness within the film that is reflected in its two protagonists and this is for both good and bad. As I stated this theme is reflected in the Sisters Brothers so this compounds on top of the narrative and further connects you with these two characters. Unfortunately, this aimlessness brings about a sense of boredom as the narrative tries to figure out where our two “heroes” will go next. This leads to a somewhat unimpactful climax.
Nevertheless, The Sisters Brothers is a unique film filled with impressive performances from its intimate cast set to a darkly comedic backdrop.