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The Sisters Brothers - Blu-ray Review

There is a darkness beneath the sky here.  Two figures are sleeping next to a campfire.  One snores and the other, with his mouth open, finds himself prey to something far more than loud noises.  A spider.  After sneaking up his body, this big bodied arachnoid falls into the sleeping man’s mouth.  There is an audible plop as it lands in the back of his throat. The man swallows, but does not wake up.  This scene – in all its poetic motion – is one of only a handful of quiet moments for the Sisters Brothers, but it is central to understanding just how deadly this movie is going to be. 

Because there will be repercussions in the simple act of swallowing this spider. Just as there are repercussions for dreaming of the absurd for these two midnight riders.

"French director Jacques Audiard’s The Sisters Brothers, his English language debut, is a haunting hybrid of the western genre.  It is violent, scenic in its rollout, and darkly comic as fates are mixed beneath lead-colored skies."

French director Jacques Audiard’s The Sisters Brothers, his English language debut, is a haunting hybrid of the western genre.  It is violent, scenic in its rollout, and darkly comic as fates are mixed beneath lead-colored skies.  It is also filled with a stellar cast which includes fine performances from John C. Reilly, Joaquin Phoenix, Rutger Hauer, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Riz Ahmed as their paths cross along the Oregon territory of 1851.   

And it begins with an epic, black-encrusted shoot-out in which brains are blown out and bodies fall heavily to the ground.  But all we really get to see of this dynamic start, since it is at night, are some flashes of light and proceeding hoots and hollers from Eli (Reilly) and Charlie (Phoenix) Sisters as they hunt for their target.  He’s not there but, with everyone dead, the two brothers find themselves admitting defeat as a blazing fire shreds a barn with horses inside of it. {googleads}

Beautifully shot, this film and its rugged setting makes for strong studies of fringe characters as we hop from the story of the Sisters Brothers hunting down the enemies of the looming Commodore (Hauer) straight to the engaging story of detective John Morris (Gyllenhaal) and his search for Hermann Kermit Warm (Riz Ahmed), a chemist with a taste for gold.  At the point that these stories intersect, thanks in large part to Hauer, we know some heads are going to roll.The Sisters Brothers - Blu-ray Review

As humorous as some its moments are, like watching Reilly use a tooth brush for the very first time, it is all done inside a prism of beauty and restraint.  We neither tip too far on the scales of weirdness here, yet the film delivers on its premise and, thanks to a script that keeps us from certain realities, its shock lasts far beyond the walk out of the theater and the drive home.  This is tough terrain these characters journey over. 

Adapted by Audiard and Thomas Bidegain (but based upon the novel by Patrick deWitt), The Sisters Brothers quickly splits into two distinct worlds.  We have the Brothers on one side of this coin and we have the team of Morris & Warm on the other.  This different look at these men – one being rugged and the other being thoughtful – presents us with an interesting dichotomy in the characters of the Old West.  We have our sympathies to side with, but this movie is not interested in rewarding them; it merely teases as it aims for a much bigger story about masculinity in a violent past.

The Sisters Brothers is now available on blu-ray thanks to 20th Century Fox.  Go west, young man, and get GONZO. 

5 stars


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The Sisters Brothers - Blu-ray Review

MPAA Rating: R for violence including disturbing images, language, and some sexual content.
122 mins
: Jacques Audiard
Jacques Audiard, Thomas Bidegain
John C. Reilly, Joaquin Phoenix, Jake Gyllenhaal
: Western
Brothers by blood. Sisters by name.
Memorable Movie Quote: "Alright. You're not going to like what comes next. Open your safe."
Theatrical Distributor:
Annapurna Pictures
Official Site: https://www.foxmovies.com/movies/the-sisters-brothers
Release Date:
October 19, 2018
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
February 5, 2019
Synopsis: John C. Reilly and Joaquin Phoenix blaze a trail of action, adventure and sly wit as Charlie and Eli Sisters, notorious sibling assassins who are hired to kill a gold prospector accused of stealing from their tyrannical boss in the Old West. Based on the award-winning novel by Patrick deWitt, this gritty western is a wildly chaotic ride from start to finish.


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The Sisters Brothers - Blu-ray Review


Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: 20th Century Fox
Available on Blu-ray
- February 5, 2019
Screen Formats: 2.40:1
: English SDH; Spanish
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; Two-disc set; Digital copy; DVD copy
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

The fine folks over at 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment have a very fine-looking release on their hands.  The 1080p/AVC- encoded transfer is an impressive display of Old San Francisco and parts of the Oregon trail.  Even the dark layers contain shadows. Fine detail is practically overwhelming with the grains in the crackling of the firelight and fibers in the clothing being abundant.  Flesh tones are warm and visually full of detail.  The contrast is edged-up a bit (which is a good thing) and there are definite breaks in the colors and impressive shadows that are completely at play throughout the feature. With an AVC encoded 1080p transfer in 2.39:1 and a DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 mix, Widows looks AND sounds absolutely stunning and crisp, even in its darkest of moments.



  • None

Special Features:

Fans get a 15-minute look at the making of the movie, a Q&A panel, two interview-led featurettes, and a gallery.  A trailer is included.

  • Striking Gold: Making a Modern Day Western
  • Q&A Panel
  • Brothers Forever
  • Wanted Dead or Alive
  • Gallery


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The Sisters Brothers - Blu-ray Review