Friday 22 January 2010
Jim Sheridan's drama of guilt and forgiveness reworks the Danish director Susanne Bier's 2005 film, adding an extra polish to the story of US Army captain Sam Cahill (Tobey Maguire), who's missing presumed dead after his helicopter is shot down in the mountains of Afghanistan.
Back home, his grieving widow (Natalie Portman) and their two young daughters find solace in the tender care of Sam's younger brother Tommy (Jake Gyllenhaal), an ex-jailbird whose lifelong delinquency has set him at odds with the family patriarch (Sam Shepard). Months later, Sam returns from the dead, plainly haunted by his ordeal and convinced that his wife and his brother have been more than friends to one another. What Sam endures at the hands of the Taliban makes for a terrible scene that I remembered all too well from the original, dominated by Connie Nielsen and Ulrich Thomsen with an appalled intensity that felt unlikely to be surpassed: it hasn't been, though Portman is extremely good as the baffled and frightened wife caught between the two brothers.
Maguire and Gyllenhaal give honest performances, though they don't really convince as blood. Carey Mulligan, our own current darling, makes a brief but telling appearance as a war widow.
TV review Nick Hewer, the man whose eyebrows speak a thousand words, is set to leave The Apprentice
Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites
TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Peter Lik: The self-proclaimed 'fine-art photographer' whose work sells for millions
The best underrated Christmas movies from Love, Actually to While You Were Sleeping
Grace Dent on TV: The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies was a beautifully shot, immensely considered drama
The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies, review: Jason Watkins is brilliant, but real victim Joanna Yeates is reduced to a footnote
Marilyn Manson denies involvement in shocking Lana Del Rey rape video
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Shock poll shows voters believe Ukip is to the left of the Tories
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Ukip candidate jokes about 'shooting peasants' in racist and homophobic rant
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre