Brother's Keeper
New Line // R // $24.98 // October 8, 2002
Review by Gil Jawetz | posted November 12, 2002
M O V I E
V I D E O
A U D I O
E X T R A S
R E P L A Y
A D V I C E
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R E V I E W S
Graphical Version

THE STRAIGHT DOPE:
Who's going around buying lame cable movies on DVD and creating this market? Speaking as someone who's extolled the virtues of a good Lifetime-style melodrama (preferably one with weird incest overtones and lots of hammy acting) I can say that the bulk of these movies serve no purpose. Brother's Keeper (not to be confused with Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky's outstanding 1992 documentary of the same name, although that's exactly what I did when I requested this assignment) does little other than show how far director John Badham has slipped. Once the man behind films as varied and interesting as Saturday Night Fever, The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars & Motor Kings and WarGames, he's now making TV movies so lackluster that they make you long for his 90's theatrical stinkers Bird on a Wire, The Hard Way and Nick of Time.

Brother's Keeper stars Jeanne Tripplehorn as Lucinda, a former Portland police profiler who left the force after a mistake left an innocent man dead. When the killer she was tracking at the time of her fatal error appears to resurface she gets dragged out of her self-imposed isolation and back into action. Complicating matters is her recently escaped convict brother Ellis (Corin Nemec, that rascal from Parker Lewis Can't Lose). Ellis is a gameplaying psycho who may or may not be involved with the new crimes, a series of murders that leave the frankly incompetent police dumbfounded.

It's tough to decide what's more annoying: The fake interplay between Lucinda and Ellis or the fake (and incredibly annoying) tension between Lucinda and Junior (Evan Dexter Parke), a hulking FBI agent with no clue. The film stumbles along through predictable plot twists and absurd set-ups until it ends. Constant flashbacks to Ellis and Lucinda's tragic childhood (rendered ineffective by bland, emotionless child acting) serve only to fracture the already broken storytelling.

VIDEO:
The full-screen transfer is bland. Badham uses a desaturated color scheme but the image itself lacks life. Compression chews up some of the darker scenes.

AUDIO:
The Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack is serviceable if uninspired. Voices are clear but nothing stands out. English subtitles are available.

EXTRAS:
Nothing.

FINAL THOUGHTS:
A useless film. If you really care, wait for USA to show it again.



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