The Sisters Brothers

The Sisters Brothers

Amazon Film
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The Sisters Brothers is a Western drama that follows Eli and Charlie Sisters, a duo of gunslinging assassins who are chasing a gold prospector in 1850s Oregon. Great film for fans of the genre.

A blazing fire in the barn and a hired gun distressed about the horses trapped inside is not a typical start to a Western genre movie.

The Sisters Brothers, directed by Jacques Audiard, takes all the familiar tropes of a Western and pours in a little magic formula to make the unusual elements glow brightly.

What is The Sisters Brothers About?

The Sisters Brothers stars John C. Reilly (Anchorman) and Joaquin Phoenix (You Were Never Really Here) as Eli and Charlie Sisters, a pair of notorious hired hitmen out in the American Wild West.

The calm reflective Eli struggles to manage his wilder, alcoholic brother, but together they take on one last job to hit a final payday: tracking and returning a man purported to have ‘stolen’ from their employer, the gnarled ‘Commodore’ (Rutger Hauer).

So follows the classic structure of men being doggedly pursued from town to town and through the vast stretches of unbound land between them, overcoming a litany of setbacks along the way.

The Sisters’ prey is alleged thief Hermann Warm (a warmly charismatic Riz Ahmed), also pursued by private detective John Morris (Jake Gyllenhaal in a low-key, subdued role).

The Sisters Brothers Official Trailer

Is The Sisters Brothers Worth Watching?

It is the sublime pairing of Reilly and Phoenix that give the film its heart. Their combative fraternity rarely makes any situation simple, especially considering their very different dispositions.

So many scenes hang on your investment in their viewpoints and responses, and you are rewarded for doing so. Throughout, both actors light a fire under their dialogue as they ride away from bear attacks, curious spiders, and hostile towns.

What makes The Sisters Brothers more interesting is the unexpected forays into introspection. Of particular highlight is a scene where Eli tries to convince Charlie that they should settle down after this job, only for the moment to broil over into a summarisation of their entire characters.

Similarly, the curveball last half hour kinks the plot into an unexpected direction, including an ending that paints a well earned full stop on all that came before.

The Sisters Brothers is a thoughtful, at times funny, and carefully crafted character piece that utilises its genre to push its characters in interesting ways, bearing fruit with an emotionally effective piece.

You won’t have to look hard to pan out the gold here.

Words by Mike Record

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  • Thoughtful And Character Rich Film
  • Stand Out Central Performances
  • Satisfying Unusual Ending


  • Gyllenhaal Could Be Better Utilised


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