Actor James Brolin's feature film directorial debut pits brother against brother in a political thriller set in Ireland. After festival showings failed to secure a theatrical distributor, MY BROTHER'S WAR was released to home video in 1998. It was named Best Feature Film with a budget over
$1 million at the 1997 Hollywood Film Festival.
As children, Gerry and Liam Fallon witnessed their father's murder by a terrorist sniper. Now adults, they are members of an IRA group plotting to kill a British dignitary as his cavalcade drives through Belfast. Gerry (Patrick Foy) calls off the attack when he discovers that the dignitary's wife
and children are also in the car. Liam (Salvator Xuereb) turns on his comrades, seriously wounding Gerry and killing the others. He detonates a bomb that kills not only the royal family, but also several bystanders. Gerry survives his wounds and is sentenced to life in prison, while Liam goes
Liam organizes a new band of followers and commits a rash of terrorist acts designed to stop the peace talks. Retired CIA agent John Hall (James Brolin), whose sister was one of the victims of the bombing, is recruited by British intelligence to stop Liam. Gerry agrees to help Hall capture Liam in
exchange for his release from prison. Gerry wants to settle down with his girlfriend, Mary (Jennie Garth), but risks his own happiness to stop his bloodthirsty brother. Liam's gang infiltrates the peace meetings and holds several government officials hostage. As Hall's men subdue the terrorists,
Gerry flees with Liam on a boat. Liam thinks his brother has rejoined him in his cause, but Gerry reveals he has taped the explosives intended for the hostages to his own body. Hugging his brother close, Gerry presses the detonator.
MY BROTHER'S WAR is an adequate but undistinguished film perhaps most interesting for its against-type casting of Jennie Garth (from TV's "Beverly Hills, 90210") as an Irish single mother who clings to hope despite the violence that surrounds her. Garth does a commendable job with the material.
Xuereb and Foy give a pair of powerful performances as the brothers. In contrast, Brolin appears too laid back for a man pursuing his sister's killer. Hall's hesitance at partnering with Gerry, also involved in the crime, is too quickly overcome. Standing out from the large supporting cast is Josh
Brolin (son of James) as a former bully who tormented Liam as a youth and tries to overthrow the group.
Brolin's direction is as lackluster as his performance in this piece. With plodding pacing and little excitement despite a surfeit of action scenes, MY BROTHER'S WAR feels overlong and uninspired. The soundtrack includes Irish standbys "Danny Boy" and "Too-ra-loo-ra-loo-ral" as well as some less
obvious choices. Though uninspiring as a thriller, the film at least does boast real Irish locations. (Violence, sexual situations, adult situations, profanity.)
Cast & Details See all »
- Released: 1997
- Rating: R
- Review: Actor James Brolin's feature film directorial debut pits brother against brother in a political thriller set in Ireland. After festival showings failed to secure a theatrical distributor, MY BROTHER'S WAR was released to home video in 1998. It was named Be… (more)