The Sisters Brothers (2018)

Jacques Audiard directs John C Reilly, Joaquin Phoenix and Jake Gyllenhaal in this revisionist western where two hitman cross America to find a prospector with a lucrative secret.

I’ve read Patrick deWitt’s novel… that felt like it should be adapted into a freewheeling road movie on horseback with killers meeting various eccentrics and slowly embracing new fads and ideas. This adaptation focuses more on the destination. The last act where two pairs of men find a kind of fatal fraternity, the eventual survivors growing from their experience. I guess that’s the more emotionally intelligent take on the source material but I missed the book’s more comical interludes in the mode of The Coen Brothers’ True Grit or O’Brother Where Art Thou. Audiard has brought us a very beautiful film. The opening sequence is a nighttime gun battle, illuminated only by the flashes of bullets igniting from rifles. And we get three of modern cinema’s best actors playing more traditional roles. Gyllenhaal and Phoenix aren’t stretched but get showy moments. Reilly in his usual sadsack demeanour is the man of begrudging action and quiet cunning. He has a career littered with great comedy supports and background schlubs, this rare lead shows what an endearing yet convincingly brutal presence he can be front and centre. I wasn’t overawed by The Sisters Brothers, I possibly had preconceived expectations that weren’t met, yet it has stuck around in the front of my thoughts since seeing it. I want to experience it again. So I’m going to score it just slightly higher than I would have on exiting the cinema.

7

My Top 10 John C Reilly Movies

1. The Thin Red Line (1998)

2. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

3. Tale of Tales (2015)

4. Boogie Nights (1997)

5. Kong: Skull Island (2017)

6. The Lobster (2015)

7. The Sisters Brothers (2018)

8. Stan and Ollie (2018)

9. Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (2006)

10. Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story (2007)

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