My Brother (DVD Review)29 Apr, 2007 By: John Latchem
Prebook 5/1/07; Street 5/29/07
Box Office $0.07 million
Rated ‘PG-13' for violence, some disturbing images and language.
Stars Vanessa Williams, Nashawn Kearse, Christopher Scott, Fredro Starr, Tatum O'Neal.
My Brother is billed as an inner-city drama, but its story of brotherly love transcends audience expectations.
Isaiah (Kearse) is struggling to not become his father's son, while saddled with the responsibilities of looking after his mentally disabled brother, James (Scott). Isaiah never knew his father, whom his mother described as weak and unworthy of emulation.
She died of tuberculosis when the brothers were young. Knowing they will be split if put up for adoption, she instills the brothers with intense loyalty for each other so their bond will be strong enough to survive the dark days without her.
The film begins with the brothers as adults. Isaiah aspires to be a stand-up comedian, but he just isn't funny. Desperate for cash, he accepts a gopher job from some local hoodlums who instruct him to pick up a package, which ends up misplaced before he can deliver it.
When the thugs seek revenge, Isaiah skips town. He doesn't want to bring James, afraid of disrupting the younger brother's carefully planned routine. This turns out to be a serious lapse in judgment.
As he falls from grace, Isaiah flashes back to the lessons of his mother, further emphasizing the sad gap between what she wanted him to be and the reality of his current situation.
It's a hard film to watch, filled with raw emotions and disturbing sequences of despair and hopelessness. The film's only real misstep is an extended cameo by O'Neal that seems rather out of place. Otherwise, My Brother remains compelling throughout, anchored by solid performances from Williams and Kearse.