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Two Brothers

movie reviewmovie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: Two Brothers

Starring: Guy Pearce, Jean-Claude Dreyfus
Director: Jean-Jacques Annaud
Rated: PG
RunTime: 109 Minutes
Release Date: June 2004
Genres: Family, Drama

*Also starring: Philippine Leroy-Beaulieu, Freddie Highmore, Oanh Nguyen, Moussa Maaskri, Vincent Scarito, Stephanie Lagarde, Nozha Khouadra, Annop Varapanya

Review by Susan Granger
3 stars out of 4

If you loved Jean-Jacques Annoud's "The Bear," you won't want to miss his newest wild animal tale: a fable set in Southeast Asia during the French Colonial period of the 1920s.

As the story begins, two magnificent tigers meet and mate, deep in the jungles of Cambodia. Secure in their mossy sanctuary among the temple ruins, cuddly twin cubs Kamal and Sangha are born. But their idyllic tranquillity is shattered by a ruthless hunter (Guy Pearce) who is searching for sacred statues. The cubs' father is shot and Kumal is captured and sold off to the Zerbino Circus, where he's cruelly forced to perform tricks. Meanwhile, Sangha is adopted by the lonely son (Freddie Highmore) of a local administrator (Jean-Claude Dreyfus) who is eager to develop the jungle site into a tourist attraction. For that reason, he needs to curry favor with His Excellency (Oanh Nguyen), and Sangha winds up in the Royal menagerie. Raised separately in captivity, Kamal and Sangha are eventually reunited in a predictably feel-good conclusion.

What's extraordinary is the sensitive and unique way that writer/director/producer Annaud and photographer Jean-Marie Drejou anthropomorphize the tigers and vividly capture their endearing animal behavior, using a combination of high-definition digital (HD) and 35mm cameras. Along with a few animatronics (like for the jungle fire), some 30 live tigers were used - with Sangha and Kumal having several doubles trained by Thierry Le Portier. Unfortunately, the human drama is far less effective and the acting is amateurish except for Guy Pearce and young Freddie Highmore. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "Two Brothers" is a stunning, visually spectacular 7, and those wondrous little tiger cubs are irresistible.

Copyright 2004 Susan Granger

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