Nov 082009


Some of the commenters at IMDB claim that Brother-2 got bad reviews from Americans because it is anti-American and shows lots of Americans getting killed by the Russian guy.

Nonsense. Hollywood has produced a steady diet of anti-American movies for as long as I can remember. And lots of those I see in the previews at movie houses show Americans being gunned down all over the place.

In fact, that’s the problem with Brat-2. It’s too much like an American movie. It also has the same shallow moralizing about materialism that you can get in any number of American films.

For a movie that makes an attempt to come to grips with the poisonous nature of materialism, watch the original Brat. That movie shows you, instead of just giving you meaningless talk. In that movie, Sveta makes difficult choices throughout. So does the German.

In Brat you are given reasons to care about the people who are caught up in the greed and violence. Not so in Brat-2. There isn’t even anything about “brother” in the sequel, even though the two characters are both present. In Brat-2 there is no brother relationship. In the original there was.

The film does have some redeeming value. Just as in Brat and Gruz 200, Alexsei Balabanov has quite an eye for filming grimy urban street scenes, as in the clip above.

Nov 072009


I recognized the above scene near the end of Brat-2. It was from the cover to one of Anna Lawton’s books.

The main purposes of sequels is to exploit us and disappoint us, I suppose. Brat-2 fulfilled its purpose better than, say, the sequel to Irony of Fate, which while not as good as the original, was worth watching twice, and which I’d like to watch again sometime.

After it was over, I was hoping Brat-2 could be excused by having been made by someone other than the maker of the original Brat, but IMDB tells us that Aleksey Balabanov made them both. Balabanov also made another excellent film: Gruz 200. Maybe sequels are just too limiting even for someone of Balabanov’s abilities.

Both Brats are violent films, but the violence in Brat-2 is merely senseless violence. In Brat-2 we aren’t even made to feel horrified by what it does to the victims or the perpetrator. Victims just pose so they can be easy targets to be gunned down.

There is nothing of Doestoevsky in Brat-2, like there is in Brat with the relationship with Daniela’s brother, or the girlfriend, or the German or Kat. In Brat-2 the brother is just dropped out of the picture at the end, which is symbolic of what’s missing in the entire film.