Friday 23 September 2016

"The Brother" (Guardian 23/09/16)

The Brother ***
Dir: Ryan Bonder. With: Tygh Runyan, Jed Rees, Anthony Head, Belinda Stewart-Wilson. 86 mins. Cert: 15
An intriguing anomaly: a London-set crime thriller boasting just enough storytelling heft and idiosyncratic style to merit investigation. Writer-director Ryan Bonder takes a borderline preposterous set-up – brooding Canuck Adam (Tygh Runyan) hides out as a Tate cloakroom clerk in a doomed bid to escape his arms-dealing family – then develops it to keep generating fresh perspectives on both the city and his characters. Thematically, it’s more Jacques Audiard than Nick Love: Adam’s relationship with a deaf dancer (Noémie Merlant) echoes 2001’s Read My Lips, the piano playing 2005’s The Beat That My Heart Skipped. (Again, it’s crime versus culture: we intuit that the brother who shows up is trouble from his brusque handling of Adam’s vinyl collection.) Not every gamble pays off – certain narrative backalleys remain under-illuminated – but it’s strongly performed and full of bold, eye- and ear-catching directorial choices: if nothing else, this must be the first neo-noir to unfold to a Northern Soul soundtrack. 

The Brother is now playing in selected cinemas.

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