Review: ‘We (Brother)’

An utterly predictable, listless meller in which the love life of a young woman becomes intertwined with two brothers of vastly differing temperaments and fates, "We (Brother)" is competently made but not emotionally engaging. Indiscriminate fests and undemanding cablers will constitute item's entire industry family.

An utterly predictable, listless meller in which the love life of a young woman becomes intertwined with two brothers of vastly differing temperaments and fates, “We (Brother)” is competently made but not emotionally engaging. Indiscriminate fests and undemanding cablers will constitute item’s entire industry family.

A brooding juvenile delinquent while still in high school, Liangzi (Xu Zeng) is the polar opposite of his respected, academically distinguished older brother, Wenzi (Gao Xuan). When class beauty Lao Wu (Zhang Tong) falls for the bookish Wenzi, it’s all she can do to keep the stuffy academic interested in her. Finally, she bears his child, only to learn he’s decided to go overseas after graduating from the university. Liangzi takes over the parenting duties, but a jail stint and Wenzi’s reappearance change the family dynamic yet again. Sib’s younger sister Taozi (Shen Chang), who narrates the tale and is seen in apparent interview footage with the principals that pulls auds away from the story, eventually drops a family bombshell. Tech package is persuasive, led by Cheng Guangming’s atmospheric art direction and Liu Jianhua’s authentic costuming.

We (Brother)

China

Production

A China Television Media, Beijing Rosat Film & TV production. (International sales: Arc Light Films, Taipei.) Produced by Gao Xiaopint, Li Shaohong. Executive producers, Tan Xiangjiang, Li Xiaowan. Directed by Zeng Nianping. Screenplay, An Dun.

Crew

Camera (color, HD-to-35mm), Gao Hu; editor, Gao Bing; music, Lin Hai; art director, Cheng Guangming. Reviewed at New Montreal Film Festival (competing), Sept. 24, 2004. Running time: 110 MIN.

With

Xu Zeng, Gao Xuan, Shen Chang, Zhang Tong.
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