"Only the dead have seen the end of war"
Tommy Cahill (Jake Gyllenhaal) has always been the rebel of the family, going through life without much enthusiasm or motivation. Recently released from prison he returns home prior to his brothers departure back to Afghanistan. Capt. Sam Cahill (Tobey Maguire) the older of the two, married his high school sweetheart Grace(Natalie Portman) and has two young daughters, and has everything going for him. While fighting in Afghanistan Sam's company comes under fire from the Taliban and he is presumed dead. Wanting redemption in his life Tommy steps in as the "father figure" for the girls and helps Grace overcome the loss of his brother. Months go by and Sam is miraculously found in a Taliban camp and returns home and suspects a romantic relationship has happened between the brother he loves and the wife he thought he trusted.
Gyllenhaal and Maguire are at their best here and are playing polar opposites to a tee. The story itself is intriguing and also shows the gritty side of war and shows one of the most troublesome moments for any prisoner of it. Sam Shepard plays the part of the father who lost what Gyllenhaal's character considers his favorite son. Maguire redeems himself playing somewhat of a broken soul to where he has left the war but the war hasn't left him and struggles with the life he has been away from for so long. The balance in the film between the family at home and Sam overseas keeps the movie at a good pace along with an ending that will leave you speechless. "Brothers" was one of the better dramas of 2009 and one you won't soon forget. 4/5 -tom