Monday, April 6, 2009

Brothers At War

As I ran the remaining blocks to the 62nd street theater, I did not anticipate what I was about to be a part of. My friend Paul earlier informed me of a documentary called Brothers at War about a group of brothers in the military, which also features his newly reacquainted brother, a US Marine.

I trekked out with Paul after work, him driving a classic '78 Mercedes Benz handed down from his grandfather. Traffic was a bit much -- even for Manhattan. We decided jogging at a slower 30-year-old pace would be faster than driving the remainder of the way, since we were already late for this special screening of this Gary Sinise-produced movie. We hustled into the closest available seats, as to not disturb the other moviegoers, consisting of who knows who considering the situation.

I started watching the film not knowing what to expect, except maybe a brief cameo from Paul's brother, Gunney Sgt. Edward Allier of the Marine Corp. Paul pointed him out to me. He was a couple rows ahead, decked out in his military atttire, with a lady on each side. Not bad for a first impression.

Now to take in the feature film, I entered into a world previously unknown to me, and I'm sure, to many of you, the abundance of writing fans I have. (Heh heh, I'm not a writer nor do I have fans.) The movie kicks in with Jake Rademacher, the director, a man whose two brothers are both army men over in Iraq. To closer identify with his brothers and show he can hang with the big dogs too, Jake meets up with his older brother Isaac in Iraq to film the people and events he encounters.

From dangerous situations to in-depth talks with various soldiers, opinions of local Iraqis to brothers busting each other's chops even in the toughest of times, Jake now has me caught up in his movie. After spending more adventures with his brother Isaac, Jake returns home to his family, a family with a lot of love, heartaches, and even tragedy. We see into their lives, emotions, and insights. The movie also offers many more character studies, such as the family's reactions to a brother back at home lost to drugs. Joe, Jake's second of many brothers, questions God on hurts like this, although he sees how it changed him for the good and how his paths in life were redirected. Romans 8:28, "All things work together for the good of those who love God," comes to mind.

Joe, also the second brother active in the army, feels Jake's adventures lack the real substance of what it means to serve in the forces and be at war. Jake, in an edeavor to share with and prove himself to his two military brothers, sets off yet again to Iraq, this time with a seemingly scripted badass full of wisecracks, a very real marine, Edward Allier. Sitting in the theatre, Paul was nothing but proud of his brother and I impressed with the role he played. Leading Jake through real attacks, gunfire, and even soldiers lost, Gunney Sgt. Allier gives Jake all the Iraq "street cred" he needs.

Brothers at War far surpassed any expectations I had and how I have explained it here today (again, I am not a writer). But this original idea for a film does not have the mega-millions to promote it, as do a lot of modern-day flicks that aren't on Brothers at War's level. This movie is depending on word of mouth as well as Gary Sinise himself's hard work to promote it (ie, Jimmy Fallon Show, The View, talk-radio shows).

This movie applies to all military families as well as non-military people, such as myself. I believe it to be something we should all view to capture first hand the experiences and many perspectives over in Iraq, and therefore walk away with a broader vision of what's going on overseas.

Brothers at War ties people together on multiple levels: Jake and his brothers; my friend Paul and his brother Ed Allier; and hopefully you to the many soldiers serving abroad.

View the trailer here:


Stephanie Nikolopoulos said...

Did the movie show a lot of violence?

Anonymous said...

the movie only showed one real crossfire and the resulting deaths, that were pretty potent to watch and take in, but it does most of the film without showing violence.

Freddy Rodriguez said...

nice coverage..

Anonymous said...

sounds like an interesting did gary sinese get involved with the project?

Anonymous said...

I am not fully sure how Gary sinise got involved, but i did hear him say that once he saw this movie, he felt he had to do something to get it out there, so i feel that he is treating it like an act of service in a sense, realizing something bigger than himself and trying to contribute...