The Sisters Brothers review – John C Reilly excels in revisionist western | Westerns

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In gold rush-era Oregon, bickering bounty hunters Eli and Charlie Sisters (John C Reilly and Joaquin Phoenix respectively) pursue the chemist Hermann Kermit Warm (Riz Ahmed), accompanied by detective John Morris (Jake Gyllenhaal, overenunciating to an embarrassing degree). Based on Patrick deWitt’s 2011 novel, French director Jacques Audiard’s English-language debut is a revisionist western. Images of the Oregon trail’s deserted beauty invoke the genre’s cinematic history, but these aren’t John Ford’s stoic, taciturn cowboys. Instead, they’re foul-mouthed and self-destructive (drunkard Charlie), sensitive (the soft-hearted Eli), even idealistic (would-be socialist Hermann).

Reilly is particularly good here, browbeaten tenderness leaking, for example, into a role-play scene at a whorehouse. The film’s sometimes tiresome sense of humour is laddish in its embrace of viscera (blood, boils, vomit and live spiders all feature), but as the narrative trots (or, rather, plods) along, its men are revealed to be endearingly less so.

Source: The Guardian
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