Monday Movie: Four Brothers
Every Monday, we’ll recommend a movie. It could be a classic, an overlooked recent treasure, an unfairly maligned personal favorite or whatever the hell we feel like.
One of the possible uses of the Monday Movie feature is to defend movies we feel are unfairly maligned. I’m not sure that description quite fits John Singleton’s Four Brothers, though. The complaints against it are more than fair. Its plot is both preposterously convoluted and dumb as a post. It’s brutally misanthropic. And it can’t strike a balance between its goofball comedic flights and its many scenes of excessive violence. But with Mark Wahlberg about to star in a remake of 1974’s The Gambler, I got to thinking about the other remakes in his career. I couldn’t very well recommend Planet of the Apes or The Truth About Charlie (a remake of Charade) while keeping a straight face. And 2003’s The Italian Job is serviceable at best, and pervasively bland. Yet Four Brothers (a loose remake of 1965’s The Sons of Katie Elder), despite all the things wrong with it, has something those other films don’t. It has personality to spare. Wahlberg, Andre Benjamin, Tyrese Gibson and Garrett Hedlund play foster brothers who reunite in wintery Motor City to avenge the murder of their foster mother. The Sons of Katie Elder is a Western and, even though Four Brothers takes place in the film’s present day of 2005, the lawless, live-by-the-gun mentality of the earlier movie’s genre turns these ersatz siblings into a posse. You might have to leave at least some of your morality at the door to fully enjoy Four Brothers but the payoff of pure genre thrill is worth it.