Brother (2001) 2001 R CC

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(64) IMDb 7.3/10
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Brother is the story of a displaced yakuza gangster (played by Kitano), whose crime family is annihilated in a Tokyo gang war. He flies to LA in search of his brother. Stranded in an unfamiliar culture, he strikes up an unlikely friendship with a young hustler (Epps), as they engage in a violent struggle to take over the down-town LA drug turf.

Starring:
Takeshi Kitano, Omar Epps
Runtime:
1 hour, 53 minutes

Available to watch on supported devices.

Brother (2001)

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Product Details

Genres Drama, Thriller
Director Takeshi Kitano
Starring Takeshi Kitano, Omar Epps
Supporting actors Claude Maki, Masaya Katô, Susumu Terajima, Royale Watkins, Lombardo Boyar, Ren Ohsugi, Ryo Ishibashi, James Shigeta, Tatyana Ali, Makoto Ohtake, Kôen Okumura, Naomasa Musaka, Rino Katase, Tetsuya Watari, Ren Murakami, Joy Nakagawa, Wanda-Lee Evans, Tony Colitti
Studio Sony Pictures Classics
MPAA rating R (Restricted)
Captions and subtitles English Details
Rental rights 24 hour viewing period. Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly and download to 2 locations Details
Format Amazon Instant Video (streaming online video and digital download)

Other Formats

Customer Reviews

This movie is great, not too slow, like Fireworks is too many people.
[SS]Shooter
As in other previous films by this director, deadpan humor is also present but perhaps not so constant as in other movies.
Stranger
What doesn't help the Sony Pictures Classics version is that its edited.
John

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 27, 2002
Format: DVD
I recently rented Brother on DVD here in america last week. And was saddened to find that they edited a fair amount of scenes from the original version. The movie still functions with the scenes edited out, but I felt that these edited scenes brought more clarity to the movie. The edited amereican version doesn't quite have that clarity, and therefore suffers somewhat. The edited scenes were mostly in Japanese, and gave background on why Takeshi's character was going to LA. . Perhaps the studio felt that american viewers do not like to read subtitles or don't like seeing people in other countries. I am not sure why this was done, but I think that it takes away from the movie and shortchanges the viewer. Anyhow, it is Takeshi being Takeshi, and the movie is well done. Not a bad crossover film for Takeshi and Kitano. It's rather humourous at times and there is enough bad [butt]edness going around to make even the seasoned action flix fan happy. I would give it 5 stars had they not messed with it and edited scenes from the original.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Stephen Kaczmarek on March 18, 2003
Format: DVD
As introspective as it is violent, "Brother" manages to do what few Hollywood gangster films can--entertain and make you think. To call the plot Shakespearean almost seems an insult, as its sensibilities are so obviously Japanese, with the emphasis not on the action but on the effects of it, but careful observers may see strains of "Macbeth" and "Richard III" in this very grown-up feature (with a little Sergio Leone thrown in). Director and star Takeshi Kitano follows the last days of a disgraced Yakuza in America, whose brilliant but brutal rise to power in modern L.A. is matched only by the intensity of his loyalty to his friends and half-brother. Omar Epps is a likable presence as one of those friends, and the many familiar Japanese-American faces--including veteran James Shigeta--blends ably with the mostly Japanese cast. But it is Kitano that delivers the goods, wisely choosing to underplay Yamamoto as a pillar of quiet strength rather than allow him to become broad-based caricature. In fact, the understated tone of the film is what gives it so much style and intensity; few American films would be bold enough to focus less on the shoot 'em ups and more on the aftermath or to raise the issue of black-on-Asian racism in a gangster movie. That the story ends up pretty much where you expect it to is less a flaw than the culmination of a satisfying slow burn, making this gem a must-see.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By therosen VINE VOICE on April 24, 2005
Format: DVD
Beat Takeshi provides another violent movie, whose purpose seems to be that violence begets violence, and ultimately it's a dead end. The basic plot has Takeshi playing a yakuza forced to leave Japan upon the death of his boss. He finds his half brother in LA pushing drugs rather than attending school. Takeshi violently turns the small time crew into a major crime cartel.

Yakuza themes of loyalty to family and honor over life pervade the movie. The omnipresent violence somehow avoids being gratuitous, perhaps because one realizes how more graphic it could have been. Unlike traditional western shoot 'em ups, we are left with the aftermath instead of the fight scenes themselves. At times it is hard to follow the plot and remember who is on whose sides, but perhaps that is the point.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Stranger on March 27, 2002
Format: DVD
Acclaimed director Takeshi Kitano -winner of the Golden Lion in Venice '97 for his film "Fireworks"- is again behind the camera directing Brother, his ninth film to date. Kitano also plays the role of the main character as he has done in most of his films.
The movie tells us the story of Yamamoto, a member of the Yakuza -the Japanese Mob-, who is expelled from the brotherhood he belongs to due to the betrayal of several members of his clan. He's given up for dead and moves from Tokyo to Los Angeles where he has a younger brother who survives as a modest drug dealer. Then, they begin to wipe out their opponents and thanks to Yamamoto's courage and insight they will become a powerful clan that controls several city areas. However, on their way to seize power, they meet their match and things will begin to go downhill. I won't spoil the ending but I must say that it's a thrilling and emotive one.
Kitano offers to the audience an electrifying portrayal of the Yakuza, its motivations and, most of all, its code of honor. The film can also be described as a tragedy because there's a sense of fatality which indicates that everything in the movie moves toward their end. The film depicts the state of mind of a man(Yamamoto)who has lost everything in which he believed and who has become a stateless person, an uprooted drifter shunned from his cultural environment with a ticket of no return.
As in other previous films by this director, deadpan humor is also present but perhaps not so constant as in other movies. There's also an underlying parody of the genre of action and noir films in the realistic and, at the same time, exaggerated way that Kitano describes violence.
Another remarkable aspect is the marvellous soundtrack composed by Kitano's longtime collaborator, Joe Hisaishi.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By manicsounds on May 9, 2003
Format: DVD
Kitano's "BrotherEgets eaten and spit out by Sony Pictures US. Not exactly a masterpiece, or the best movie he has done, but it gave a great insight into the Yakuza lifestyle rarely known outside of Japan. But on this DVD, the lackluster treatment of this movie is unforgivable.
If some of the story was a little on the unexplained side, maybe it's because the US version is 30 minutes shorter than the Japanese original. Most of the Japanese sequences were cut, so Americans won't have to read too many subtitles. Great move(?). The DTS audio option was thrown out for some reason, thinking people who might like this movie will not have a DTS decoder. Sony, get with the times!
The biggest problem I had with this DVD was that there were no English subtitles! It is listed as `English SubtitlesEbut in fact, it's English Closed Captions, so even when they are speaking English, the captions appear. Luckily I understand both languages, but for anyone else, they would be a headache to sit through.
Extras are very minimal, only trailers for completely unrelated Chinese movies? For a list price so high, it just seems smarter to get the fully loaded Region 2 Japanese release. Believe me the story makes a LOT more sense.
Also, the character that Tetsuya Watari plays is such a minor role in the US version, it was a shame that his name appears in the credits. If you want to check out a role where he actually is part of the MOVIE, get `Tokyo DrifterE(Criterion Collection). You'll be a lot happier with that film.
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