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Sunday, 17 June 2018

Sydney Film Festival (24) - BROTHERS' NEST (Clayton Jacobson, Australia)

(Spoiler alert, large chunks of plot given away)

Shane & Clayton Jacobson
Shane and Clayton Jacobson came out of nowhere to make Kenny way back in 2007. It was a film that captured imaginations. Hearts even. At the screening I attended, I still remember the moment when Kenny says he cant get to Sydney because he has to supervise the portable dunnies at the Melbourne Cup. “Oh No! Not the Melbourne Cup” said half the audience (four of eight) and they got up and left. The joke had worn out.

It’s taken a decade or more for the brothers to do another movie and this time there was no movement from the audience at any stage. 

Playing brothers Terry and Jeff, the Jacobsons have assembled a comic thriller with some serious, deadly, moments.  A slow burn, slow reveal, approach is what they are after, a bit Highsmithian. From the start guilt and uncertainty are already preying on Terry as the brothers embark on a lunatic scheme to murder their hated step-father, the man who caused their natural father to hang himself. The plan hatched by Jeff is motivated by pure greed. They seem to have been cut out of their mother’s will.

For close to an hour it’s only the brothers on screen as they prepare the family home to make ready for what they hope will be seen as a suicide. At each step of the crazed plan, little things go wrong. Best joke is deciding what electrical implement they will throw into the bath in order to electrocute him. Then there’s a problem because they need an extension cord. Life’s little miseries. Jeff in particular is basing the plan on endless number of viewings of TV crime shows. He has half absorbed a million facts about DNA and evidence and he rattles them off at will to placate, but bamboozle, his dumber sibling.

Kim Gyngell, Brothers' Nest
Somewhere along the way you realise the progenitor of it. It’s an attempt to channel a movie into a down-under Coen Bros wanta-lookalike, Fargo in a cheap setting, the backblocks of Victoria.  Its filled to the brim with Jacobson brothers laconic, ironic humour. The dad (Kym Gyngell) continues on from the dad in Kenny, a mean-minded arsehole who cant stand his stepsons.   The mum (Lynette Curran) is a monster propped up by walking sticks but still able to smack her son in the same room where she gave him a childhood beating on the day of his dad’s funeral.

Shane Jacobson, Sarah Snook, Brothers' Nest
In the end it turns violent but again with a twist involving setting fire to a car. Very droll. All up  a handful of actors do some comic stuff.

Amazing end credits. The producer/distributor must have pre-sold/booked the film to a host of independent theatres, all of whom have their logo on the screen. Never seen that before.

It's opening on 21 June in all those independent theatres. If you wait till the end you’ll probably be able to see the logo of the theatre where you are watching the movie.
Lynette Curran, Brothers' Nest

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