Annette Kellerman Drops In On THE OVERBROOK BROTHERS!!!
Published at: March 18, 2009, 7:11 p.m. CST by mrbeaks
Hey everyone! It's Annette Kellerman back with another short review from this year's South by Southwest Film Festival.
THE OVERBROOK BROTHERS
I went into this local, Austin-made film with a bit of apprehension. The theater was packed. The film makers, cast, and their families were all in attendance. I knew very little about the film except that it was a road movie with two brothers. Over the years, I've been to so many movies that I've termed "festival films"- projects that are surrounded by hype but end up being some boring hipster shit with no real plot or purpose, topped with bad production value. Cough...mumblecore...cough...(the king of mumblecore, Joe Swanberg is the only film maker in this category who seems to always get it right, but I digress...)
Boy was I totally relieved by the delightful THE OVERBROOK BROTHERS. Pretentious mumblecore it certainly is not! This is a fully fleshed-out, cleverly told independent movie with all the bells and whistles. The story follow two brothers who are constantly at odds with one another. While Jason is the quiet creative type, the polar-opposite Todd is the aggressive, shady instigator who knows how to push his brother's buttons. I don't want to entirely give away the plot of the film, but early on, a family secret is revealed that finds the brothers on a road trip trying to uncover more about their pasts.
Though the premise is a somewhat simple, it is the situational dramedy of the film that really makes it shine. When one of the early sequences of the film gives the audience it's first glimpse at one of the brothers' typically immature confrontations and it escalates into sheer madness, I was literally rolling in my seat with laughter. Shortly thereafter, though, director John Bryant cleverly sets the tone in the first of many dramatic and poignant scenes in the film. Kudos to Bryant for finding that happy medium throughout the film. As a bit of a diversion from the story itself, Bryant also gives us several imagined scenes from the novel that Jason is currently writing- a ridiculous knight story that undergoes various alterations as the actual plot of the film progresses. Fun stuff.
The performances in the film are also outstanding. Nathan Harlan plays the more sensitive yet immature Jason in such a way that his surrender to his brother's ridiculous challenges seem totally realistic even if they are completely childish. As Todd, Mark Reeb gets to portray the quintessential big brother bully with gusto. He bravely dives into a most unlikeable character that shows glimmers of humanity, but always turns out to be a dick and is never fully allowed to win over the audience.
Some many times I've seen films like this get boring and overindulgent with deep meaning, but THE OVERBROOK BROTHERS never falls victim to this indie film pitfall at all. It is a smart and funny film that I definitely recommend checking out if you ever get the chance.