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.
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Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Liam Gallagher brands Kanye West 'utter s**t' during BRIT Awards performance
- 2 Isis burns thousands of books and rare manuscripts from Mosul's libraries
- 3 People who sleep more than eight hours are more likely to have a stroke, research shows
- 4 Kanye West climbs on table at Nando's to crowd chants of 'Yeezus' before Brit Awards 2015 performance of 'All Day'
- 5 New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
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Madonna falls off stage at Brit Awards – and then nails her performance
Brits 2015: Pharrell Williams only non-white winner as music awards follow Oscars 'white wash'
The Reading & Leeds 2015 line-up if it only included bands with female members looks pretty sparse
Wolf Hall finale, review: Simply brilliant TV
Oscars 2015: Birdman beats Boyhood as Eddie Redmayne and Patricia Arquette win big - as it happened
New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
Half of Ukip voters say they are prejudiced against people of other races
'Cash for access' scandal: Sir Malcolm Rifkind says 'unrealistic' for MPs to live on £67,000 salary
Aqsa Mahmood branded a 'disgrace' by her parents after claims she recruited three UK girls flying to Middle East
Ukraine crisis: 'One miscalculation, and Britain faces an existential threat to our whole being...'