Writers: Rasmus Birch, Nicolo Donato
Stars: Thure Lindhardt, David Dencik, Nicolas Bro, Morten Holst, Hanne Hedelund
Brotherhood is a well-made Danish film about the forbidden love between two members of a pro-Nazi group. It's extremely well acted, beautifully crafted, and sensitive in its portrayal of love and fear between two men. The only problem I had with the film is that I could tell what was going to happen, half an hour before it happened. If it was less predictable, or separate from the conventional themes most LGBT films share, then I could see it as a masterpiece. It certainly had the potential, with gorgeous scenes and a damn-good score by Jesper Mechlenburg. As it stands, Brotherhood is still one of the best LGBT films I've seen.
Lars (Thure Lindhardt) was a sergeant that had to leave the army due to an allegation that he 'hit on' two soldiers in his company. He finds companionship and confidence in a pro-Nazi movement, where he is seen as a huge asset to the group. I believe one of their main objectives is to promote the laws of nature, whether it be by sending Arabs, 'sand people', back to their own land, or by beating up gay men while they're young (to prevent them from ever coming out to their families). Well Lars ends up staying with another member of the group, Jimmy (David Dencik). They keep to themselves and don't disturb each other, but there is an infectious spark between the two. Starting a romantic relationship is quite risky, when both partners are members of a gay-bashing group.
It's a story that anyone could see coming. Think of all the forbidden love-angles there are. Gay cowboys, gay soldiers, gay gangsters... and the most out-there of them all, gay Nazi's. I have nothing against this, because throughout history there would have undoubtedly been a same-sex relationship in one of these groups. I'm just appreciative that Nicolo Donato created a damn fine film about this unexplored section in the world. It's gritty and hard to watch at times, but also sensitive and beautiful in many other ways.
I just have to say, there were three things that really made the cinematic experience an enjoyable one. The first being the excellent cinematography of Laust Trier-Mork. I can recall many great scenes, but two of them were unforgettable. One of them was Lars working out in front of the mirror, which was shot in a way that made me think that there were two men having sex (it was pretty funny, actually). The second, and greatest section of the film, was when Lars and Jimmy were swimming in the sea by moonlight. That was absolutely beautiful. But where would these scenes be without the entrancing music by Jesper Mechlenburg? His score uplifted the film to soaring heights, and really projected a softness to their romance. The third and final thing that made this a great film, were the performances that matched the music and cinematography.
Thure Lindhardt gave a great performance as Lars, who I believe just wanted to be accepted. He came to the group out of curiosity, but stayed because of Jimmy. David Dencik gave the strongest performance of the film, as a skinhead that must come to terms with his feelings for Lars, and his loyalties to the movement. They had an electric chemistry... I mean... wow. I didn't like them as people, not one bit. Anyone with the capacity to brutally beat an innocent person is pretty shameful in my books (though I know it's not as simple as that). But when they were together, there was a sudden sweetness about them that just looked like they were entirely different people. There were the strong feelings of confusion, despair, longing, and fear shown every now and then... but it was mainly about the joy they felt being around each other. The piercing stare of Dencik, which can also be softer than a cloud, was what made me fall for their relationship. (If only they weren't so damn indecisive and silly with their decision-making).
With all the good that came with the romance, the film failed to reach greatness due to its lack of excitement during all the parts in-between. How can you get excited about a film that's so predictable? It's also quite a frustrating film to watch too, due to the inhumane morals the characters stand for and the poor decisions they make. By the time the credits rolled, I was left speechless. Not because there was a surprise of some sort, because there weren't (it all turned out almost exactly as I thought it would). I don't know what it was, but this film kind of packs a punch. I do think it's unforgettable. But mostly, it's really a very good film.