The two people I was with actively enjoyed Four Brothers and openly lobbied for it. I myself came in desperately wanting to like it, after all, I am a Mark Wahlberg fan since Three Kings and I Heart Huckabees. I’m also on record as saying Andre 3000 is the next big thing, from his performances with Outkast to being the only good thing in Be Cool it’s obvious to me he has the makings of a big star. So the stars were aligned for an “A” review. Yet, Four Brothers was an exceedingly average movie.
The plot of Four Brothers is of four outlaws who return home after their adoptive mother is murdered. The slaying seems to be a botched convenience store robbery at first glance. Two of the brothers are white, two are black, all are mentally unstable, and together they make up the worst four kids of the hundreds this momma saint generously shuttled through her doors. Andre 3000 is the only one of the gang who still lives in Detroit where they were all raised. The other three brothers return home from points unknown.
The first misstep this film makes is the woeful miscasting of Garrett Hedlund as one of the brothers. When I say woeful, I genuinely mean it’s full of woe. This kid doesn’t belong anywhere near this movie. There’s a shot of him giving the camera his best “crazy outlaw eyes” but he ends up looking more like comic relief, or perhaps a live action Muppet. It’s jarring to say the least.
The other real issue with Four Brothers is the basic flow of the film. Plot and logic wise, it is pretty choppy; I also don’t feel the film effectively explored the relationships between the brothers themselves. It felt like four strangers most of the time, and by the time the climax rolled around I was having a hard time caring either way.
On a positive note this film has some decent car and action scenes and Sofia Vergara does a nice job as Tyrese’s crazy girlfriend. Beyond that you will have to use your brain as Four Brothers is also a pretty strong “message” film. In this case the message is “stay the hell away from Detroit.” Between open gunfights on the streets, dirty cops, corrupt councilmen and a psychotic criminal don running things you’ve got to wonder why there weren’t more “For Sale” signs in the neighborhood Marky Mark and the gang return to.
This is just another missed opportunity in the vapid wasteland that is our current movie buffet. They had three of four actors in place, a decent plot concept, and a frisky Detroit set masquerading as the seventh circle of hell. They didn’t quite pull it off, but it wasn’t a completely failed effort. Four Brothers straddles that wonderful line of film that you forget pretty quickly, neither great enough to preach about nor bad enough to work up a good old fashion hate for. If you’re in dire need of an entertainment fix this will work, but you’ll still feel a bit hungry afterwards.