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Woody Harrelson, Christian Bale, Zoe Saldana, Sam Shepard, Willem Dafoe, Casey Affleck, Forest Whitaker…. You see that cast and you know this film is an awards chaser. Somehow this did not pan out, it came and went, and only through some accident did I stumble across it in the first place, a year after it was released apparently. I actually try to steer clear of films with Christian Bale in it, he tries so hard to be an IMPORTANT ACTOR that you can almost see the sweat dripping off the screen. On the other hand, there is Casey Affleck, and him being by far my favourite Affleck, that is reason enough.

Also, there is nothing wrong with the film, other than it is nothing special. Actually, once you have read the cast list, you can almost specifically name the key plot points, the relationships between the characters and what will go wrong in the third act. Affleck plays the disoriented little brother with all physical and emotional quirkiness he’s got. Bale plays the big brother with all the Bale-ish gravitas he’s got. And Willem Dafoe tries to keep it together between the local big crooks and his own small crook system. Between the steel factory and the woods, it will all go wrong. And the movie authors and directors will wonder why it also went wrong for their ambitious movie. Maybe because after all those brother-fighting-brother movies with Bale and Hardy and Walberg, all brotherly conflicts have been seen one time too often?

I was not really disappointed with this film, as I never built up expectations. It is a solid tale of doomed brothers.

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