In the 'Brothers' trailers, the baritone voice trumpets that the war drama's cast features this generation's best young actors - namely Tobey Maguire, Jake Gyllenhaal and Natalie Portman. We'll analyze their merit in the film, and propose some other actors who may better fit the bill as this generation's best thespians. As always, please let us know if you think we've missed anyone in the comments below.

'Brothers' is an intense film (a remake of 2004 Swedish movie 'Broder'), based on a man who goes to war and is presumed dead after a helicopter crash. The dead man's brother ends up caring for the Marine's wife and child, and romance ensues. As is the case with many other remakes, the Hollywood-ized version has all the gloss, all the glamour, all the great casting, but something is lacking when you get up to leave the theatre.

Full Analysis After the Jump!




In the 'Brothers' trailers, the baritone voice trumpets that the war drama's cast features this generation's best young actors - namely Tobey Maguire, Jake Gyllenhaal and Natalie Portman. We'll analyze their merit in the film, and propose some other actors who may better fit the bill as this generation's best thespians. As always, please let us know if you think we've missed anyone in the comments below.

'Brothers' is an intense film (a remake of 2004 Swedish movie 'Broder'), based on a man who goes to war and is presumed dead after a helicopter crash. The dead man's brother ends up caring for the Marine's wife and child, and romance ensues. As is the case with many other remakes, the Hollywood-ized version has all the gloss, all the glamour, all the great casting, but something is lacking when you get up to leave the theatre.

Tobey Maguire
Of the three main actors in 'Brothers', Maguire takes home the acting award. He is frighteningly gaunt, pale and hollowed out, and is convincing as someone who spent many weeks in a POW hole in Afghanistan. His depiction of someone with post-traumatic stress disorder is dead-on. The only quibble we have is that any actor worth his/her salt would be able to act this crazed Marine role convincingly, like the psycho Brad Pitt played in '12 Monkeys'.

Still, Maguire is engaging, and any scene with him under fluorescent or bright lights is terrifying. This isn't the first time we've been impressed with Maguire, either. He won our hearts in the 'Spider-Man' films (who would have thought Maguire could helm an ACTION series?), 'The Cider House Rules', and 'The Ice Storm'. If Maguire continues this mix of mainstream films and more independent releases, he may well secure himself a spot in the Hollywood of the future.



Jake GyllenhaalJake Gyllenhaal
In 'Brothers', Gyllenhaal plays the bad boy, a.k.a. the brother who always did lousy at school, didn't join the Marines, and who basically did nothing with his life except go to prison. His drunken, cigarette-smoking character is a little unbelievable, namely because he moves right in when Maguire's character is assumed dead, and proceeds to do nice thing after nice thing for Natalie Portman, the widow. Would a callous repeat offender really be inclined to help out a woman and her two young daughters? We're not sold on that one.

As for his other films, Gyllenhaal has proven himself to be a ladies' man - meaning women will go see his films no matter what the subject matter (see Disney's 'Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time'). He won accolades in 2005's 'Jarhead', and critics hailed him in 'Zodiac' and 'Rendition'. He also has a cult following thanks to his starring role in 'Donnie Darko'. Gyllenhaal is definitely ensuring a solid acting career through his careful selection. We'll see what 'Prince of Persia' brings.

Natalie PortmanNatalie Portman
We went in to see 'Brothers' not knowing that Portman was playing a mother to two young children. There's a reason why the kids aren't featured prominently in the trailer, probably because Portman is completely unconvincing as a mother. Also, there is very little chemistry between her and Maguire, even before he goes off to Afghanistan. There is much fire between her and Gyllenhaal, though, so go figure. While Portman should be commended for her ability to cry on cue, she adds very little to this movie, and merely provides the tantilizing temptation for Gyllenhaal. Her role starts and ends there.

Do we really need to bring up Portman's questionable movie choices? 'Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium', 'The Other Boleyn Girl', the later 'Star Wars' movies...need we continue? The young girl who showed so much promise in 'Beautiful Girls' waaaaay back in 1996 has neglected the display of her acting chops. It would take a lot (read: a convincing portrayal of anything) to get her back on the Best Actors list.