Best known for writing scripts for Shane Meadows, writer Paul Fraser (Somers Town, Once Upon A Time In The Midlands) oddly opts for another writer's material for his directorial debut. This sweet and charming tale will warm the cockles.
alloween, 1987, and a midlands-based family struggle to come to terms the imminent death of their bedridden father. When 17-year-old Noel (Creed) takes his father's watch to school and breaks it, he ropes in younger brothers - the 11-year-old foul-mouthed Bruce Grobbelaar-obsessed Paudie (Courtney) and 7-year-old Star Wars fan Scwally (Griffin) - to steal the local bread van and drive to Ballybunion to retrieve the same watch his father won in an arcade claw machine.
he importance of the watch induces a few theories. One could be that Noel isn't ready to be the man of the family, and by getting his father's watch replaced and back on his father's wrist, then his father is still his father and not this bedridden, delirious figure. Another theory is simple nostalgia: the boys' road trip takes the same route their father would take them on seaside holidays when they were kids - one last trip and all that.
y Brothers can be subtle. Writer Will Collins resists the temptation to explore the above, and lets the visuals do the talking when the rambunctious boys come across a funeral, an all too stark reminder of why they're really on this road trip. When Noel's poetry is discovered, poetry that explores the negative feelings he has towards his father, Collins and Fraser have every excuse to be obvious but they allow the rawness of it all to sit there unsaid. However, the constant strumming guitar that is there to encourage the audience to feel what they're already feeling (the writer, the director and the actors have done their job) can irritate.
s charming and as sweet as it might be, My Brothers' biggest achievement is unearthing the talent that is young Paul Courtney. He's the movie's comic relief, cursing and farting his way through the proceedings, but when he's called upon to deliver the dramatic moments, he doesn’t blink, outshining his two co-stars at every turn. He's also responsible for the movie's greatest scene, coming up against Terry McMahon's brilliantly creepy paedophile on a lonely country road. You can tell Collins had a ball writing him and Courtney had as much fun playing him.