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.
musicReview: Culture Club performs live for first time in 12 years
Children's bookseller wins The Independent's new author search
ReviewThese heroes in a half shell should have been left in hibernation
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Renee Zellweger on plastic surgery reports: 'I'm living a fulfilling life and I'm thrilled that perhaps it shows'
- 2 Disney announces new female-led film Moana
- 3 Banksy not arrested: Internet duped by fake report claiming artist's identity revealed
- 4 Australian café owner sparks debate after saying 'No' to having unruly children on premises
- 5 Video: Boxer Vido Loncar brutally assaults referee following defeat
Mike Read 'apologises unreservedly' for Ukip Calypso and withdraws it from sale
Disney announces new female-led film Moana
Eight seconds of white noise is top of the Canadian iTunes chart because people love Taylor Swift that much
American Horror Story season 4, Fox - TV review: Sensitive, silly and sensational
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Of course, teenage girls need role models – but not like beauty vlogger Zoella
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
London bus driver 'kicks gay couple off for kissing'
Support for EU membership 'at highest level since 1991 with most Brits wanting to stay in'