2004 / Director. Jean-Jacques Annaud..
I've got two kids; one boy (12) & one girl (14) - Selecting a family film can be a harrowing task, causing bickering amongst them. Whenever we settle on a winning film, they're usually titles, which us parents choose. Last night all arguments were settled when I walked into the room and said "Right! Two Brothers". The film tells the story of two tiger cubs in 1920s French-ruled Cambodia. Living with their parents amongst the ruins of an ancient temple, their family-pack is disturbed by local scavengers and poachers who are on an expedition to steal relics and statues. With the father tiger shot dead, the two cubs are caught and separated. One ends up with a cruel circus and the other is raised for fighting by a royal prince. Similar to Jean-Jacques Annaud's previous film THE BEAR, the film replies on animal behaviour and humans are second to the animal performances. It's a film, which stirs up emotions. From gorgeous little kitty-cats to tortured and ferocious tigers... as a viewer you are put through the gamut. It evokes a whole lot of "naaaawww"s from you but also stirs up anger and heartbreak at the events, which unfold. Shot mostly on location in Cambodia, the film is majestic. The jungles, temples and indigenous communities are beautifully captured and the animal performances are incredible. Using up to 30 live tigers and combining very authentic-looking animatronics the life and journey of these creatures is breathtaking. The humans are secondary in this story and most are predators with Guy Pearce and Freddy Highmore playing the only two compassionate beings these two cubs encounter. Being set in the 1920s the film captures mankind at a different level of understanding. This is a time when killing elephants for ivory and skinning big-cats for trophy was acceptable and socially respected - and so if you're watching TWO BROTHERS with your kids, you may have to engage them with discussion. It's a confronting movie for little'uns but might just enlighten them.