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My Brothers

My Brothers

Released 17 August 2012
Director Paul Fraser

Timmy Creed, Paul Courtney, T.J. Griffin, Kate Ashfield, Sarah Greene
Writer(s) Will Collins

Rebecca O'Flanagan, Robert Walpole
Origin Ireland
Running Time 90 minutes
Genre Drama
Rating 15A

Somers Odyssey.

From writer Paul Fraser (Somers Town, Dead Man’s Shoes) comes the tale of three brothers on the (slightly) epic quest to replace their dying fathers watch. It’s a road trip film that adopts the kind of modern ‘kitchen sink cinema’ seen in the work of Shane Meadows, Fraser’s most frequent collaborator.

It’s Halloween 1987 and the siblings decide to rob some wheels (a bread van, to be exact) and head to Ballybunion where their dad’s trinket awaits inside an arcade claw machine. There’s Noel, the eldest and an angsty budding poet, Paudie, likeable smart alec and Scwally, the image of naiveté. The reason why they need to replace the watch is never made explicit but they take the same nostalgic route their father took them on many a time, so it would appear it’s all about loss and acceptance. Or something. The film has a wonderful home-movie feel to it and is a remarkable examination of brotherly relationships- it’s best mates one minute and sworn enemies the next. This natural camaraderie between the brothers is perhaps the film’s greatest strength and the young amateur leads all do a great job in convincing us so. First time actor Paul Courtney is astounding as middle brother Paudie, a character that may not be the nicest kid in the world but has a certain level of charm thanks to Courtney’s talent. There’s a hint of the Butcher Boy’s Francie Brady in him that reels you in whenever he’s on-screen.

Of course, this is a road movie so the focus is on the vast array of characters our protagonists meet along the way. Sarah Greene (one of the prostitutes from The Guard) shows up as a kind hearted pub landlord that takes the lads in for the night and lavishes them with junk food and 3D movies. Terry McMahon steals the show as a Liverpool supporting paedophile, playing the part to chilling perfection, while the appearance of a funeral party strikes a sad chord with our heroes. Also, a dead whale appears for some reason.

While the film is at its best when the cinematography is put at the forefront, eventually it becomes clear that something is lacking in the script department (interesting to note that Fraser didn’t write this). My mind began to wander in parts and by the end I thought, ‘Long way to go for a watch, eh?’ While the inexperienced actors all do a superb job the story could’ve used a bit more fleshing out, however simple the tale being told. Sure, My Brothers will warm your heart to some degree, but something is missing. Maybe next time Paul Fraser will stick to his own script.

- Cathal Prendergast