A strong French drama boasting an impressive young cast and an excellent score; familiar, but well-executed, and not to be overlooked
The French are making an impressive account of themselves on Netflix this week. Who Killed Little Gregory?, a five-part true-crime docuseries, has proved something of a hit among aficionados and deserves the attention. Now Brother, or Mon frère, has arrived on the platform with little fanfare but an understated indie charm that’ll likely impress anyone who stumbles across it.
The plot, which sees a young man, Teddy (MHD, a rapper with his own share of violence-related issues), accused of murdering his abusive father and sent to a “closed educational centre” to await trial, isn’t anything new. Nor, really, are the reasons behind it — told through flashbacks, much of the time — or the need to form unlikely and perhaps dangerous allegiances in order to navigate an unfamiliar world on the inside. But Julien Abraham’s film doesn’t pretend these are fresh ideas; it just wants to explore them thoroughly and well, with a tight script, enthusiastic and talented young actors, and solid technical craftsmanship.
Brother manages to evoke emotion both through its adherence to easy cliches but also Quentin Sirjacq’s noteworthy score; neither is necessarily subtle but work well nonetheless. The film’s latter half is weaker than its former, though not to the extent that the destination ruins the journey, even if the ending is a bit of a head-scratcher. An impressive piece of small-scale filmmaking that hopefully finds a healthy audience this weekend, without any major releases to bury it.
Jonathon is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has been Senior Editor and Chief Critic of the outlet since 2017.