Short film-Downtown Urban Arts Festival
Written, directed and produced by Troy Elliott
Reviewed by Jen Bush
If war suddenly hit your city, would you be prepared? Are you prepared to serve your country? Are you prepared to make painful sacrifices? This is the premise of Brothers.
Brothers is the inaugural film for Troy Elliott who wore multiple hats of writer, producer and director. It examines the bond and devotion between two orphaned brothers in the face of extreme adversity.
In this film, war is about to hit the California coast. The details of the war are non-existent. We never see a presence of militia nor do we hear explosives going off in the distance. The filmmaker was so good at ensuring that the audience adhere to the focal point which was the relationship between the brothers, that it made that all those details irrelevant and unnecessary.
The adult brother Jack was poignantly portrayed by Jeff Pridgen. He did a very good job of portraying a character in crisis, driven by responsibility. The younger brother Teddy was adorably portrayed by child actor, Bradley Bundlie. He was a positive ray of sunshine in a film with such a dismal theme. The chemistry between the two actors was excellent.
Jack, who is the legal guardian to Teddy, is about to be mandatorily deployed. He frantically searches for housing options for the safety and security of the little brother. He loves Teddy and has taken impeccable care of him. The daycare worker portrayed by Tanya Alexander turns him away because she already took in too many children. We surprisingly learn that Jack has a married sister named Lucy, portrayed by Eva Swan. In what is an absolute standout performance as her chilling and creepy husband Bill, played with frightening conviction by Gregory Lee Kenyon, we soon fully understand why the adult siblings have not kept in touch. The dysfunctional couple reluctantly agree to take Teddy in. In a scene that will make the hair on the back of your neck stand up, Bill pokes, prods and examines little innocent Teddy thoroughly. He interrogates Jack about his overall health such as the state of his “insides”. Luckily it was clear to Jack and the audience that Bill was going to either traffic Teddy or sell off his internal organs. It was a time of frantic desperation for all in this film. Fortunately, Jack changed his mind about leaving him there, took him back home but still was left with a major conundrum with deployment looming overhead. Ultimately, Jack makes a difficult decision to ensure Teddy’s wellbeing. In my estimation, the child is better off anywhere than with that psycho brother in law.
This film was shot simply yet effectively. It was an impressive first turn for this new filmmaker. The cinematography was accurately reflective of the dim and dreary theme of the film. The actors filled their shoes well and were convincing in their roles. Being an orphan myself, I made a personal connection to the film. It was thought provoking and really made one think about the level of preparedness that is required for an emergency of this grand scale. Always be ready!