September 13, 2006 at 04:00 AM EDT

Brothers

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
R
runtime
110 minutes
Wide Release Date
12/04/09
performer
Jake Gyllenhaal, Tobey Maguire, Natalie Portman, Clifton Collins Jr., Sam Shepard
director
Jim Shepard
author
David Benioff
Genre
Drama, War
We gave it a B

Packed with archetypes and magical coincidences that give it the heft of legend, Da Chen’s novel Brothers traces the fates of a communist general’s two sons. Shento, his illegitimate child with a provincial beauty (”the Village Bloom”), is orphaned, abused, recruited by the secret police, and becomes an authoritarian political thug. Shento’s true love is Sumi Wo, his long-lost orphanage sweetheart whose face is like ”an exotic mountain bloom.” Meanwhile, Tan, the general’s adored legitimate son, attends university and becomes a publishing mogul. Tan’s true love: the same Sumi Wo. This is broad-strokes fiction with a few too many blossom-like ladies, but it’s a fun, old-fashioned read.

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