My Brother, The Devil may not have any recognizable names to draw you in, but the trailer gives you a certain amount of intrigue. We see young love, violence, homosexuality and family. All together, the trailer sets you up and the movie knocks you out.
Our leads for this film are Rashid (played by James Floyd), the older brother part of a gang who is masking homosexual urges; his younger brother Mo (played by Fady Elsayed) who is a smart young man who likes to follow his brother like a puppy; Repo (played by Aymen Handouchi) who is one of the visible leaders of Rashid’s gang; and then you have Sayyid (played by Said Taghmaoui) who starts off as the man to help Rashid get out the drug business, but ends up also being the man who brings Rashid one step closer to coming out.
Which leads to me talking about the story. Most of the tale takes place around British project buildings as we establish the difficult life of immigrants to the UK who give birth to children who, in the movie anyway, have difficulty going straight and end up finding themselves giving into the easy money made dealing drugs. Enter Rashid and Mo. Rashid, seemingly, has been out of school for a while and has been making a living dealing drugs to help his Egyptian family which includes his brother Mo, mother, and father. For some time, it seems Rashid, or Raj, is very comfortable in his life. He has a beautiful girlfriend named Vanessa (played by Elarica Gallacher), a mate he seems rather close to named Izzi (played by Anthony Welsh) and Mo is doing well in school. Then, after Mo gets robbed by a rival gang and the beef between them and Rashid’s crew leads to casualties, Rashid looks to get out and he finds legit work through Sayyid and, from there, as Rashid looks to leave the game, Mo tries to take his place. Thus leading to Mo trying to walk his brother’s path, all the while his brother walking a road he has only veered onto when he let himself go.
Now, something I like about this movie is the fact it feels like when you watch it, you are watching multiple episodes of a series at one time. For, with it nearly being two hours, it can be a bit longer than I usually like, but it has decent enough pacing to keep you attentive. Also, I must note how good the performances are in the film. Mind you, I wouldn’t say these are BAFTA worthy performances which upset you or make you cry, but everyone feels like they were written to be authentic and the actors assume their roles really well.
But, with that said, I must admit there is a strong need for hard coded subtitles with this film. Be it because I’m not from the UK/Britain and don’t know much of their slang/ dialects, I did find it hard sometimes to really understand what the actors were saying. Also, as much as I loved how the movie felt like a show’s first few episodes mashed together, at the same time it can leave you a bit weary since it is rare for a film to be so long. Lastly, I must admit that I wanted to see and hear more about the cultures of the characters. It isn’t often we see Egyptian Muslims, and I would have liked to learn more about their culture, how they may handle homosexuality, how a kid born in modern times handles a religion which is seen as conservative, and I would have like to see more out of the cast’s cultures to. Be it the Nigerian character; Sayyid, who comes from France; and the many others which you can only assume because there is no definite cultures named. I feel, as good as the story way, there was still room to add more.
My Brother, The Devil may not be an urban masterpiece, but it does bring the type of intrigue which makes you wish the movie was just a pilot for a show. I say this since there is quite a large cast, each being part of some storyline not always fully developed, and at times it feels like we are only truly given a taste rather than a full course meal. Due to that, I would say this is a rental since it isn’t so good you have to show people you know, but I do feel it is worth watching to kill some time.
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