The road from slums to soccer glory intersects with crime drama in Marcel Rasquin’s engaging first feature “Brother.” Saga of two talented sibs hoping to go pro while coping with a parent’s violent death escapes cliche by dint of unpretentious presentation and winning perfs. While perhaps too modest a package to make a major splash, pic should score fest travel and some offshore sales in various formats.
A baby abandoned on a garbage heap is discovered by Graciela (Marcela Giron) and her young son. Seventeen years later, the adopted tot is Daniel (Fernando Moreno), a slight but nimble striker who functions as an inseparable unit on- and off-field with his team-captain brother, handsome and confident Julio (Eliu Armas). But just as they’ve attracted tryout offers from a top team, Graciela is killed in street crossfire. Daniel witnessed the slaying but can’t tell a revenge-focused Julio, because the crime involves a fellow teammate and the local crime syndicate. While not wildly original in style or content, this satisfying effort signals a bright future for writer-director Rasquin as well as lead thesps Armas and Moreno, who have a disarmingly convincing fraternal vibe.