Denmark – TLA Releasing (UK release 6 June 2011)
Brotherhood is not your average gay film. Dark, brooding and gritty in a way that really fits the subject matter, this is an intense, engaging piece of cinema.
It centres around Lars (Thure Lindhardt), who falls in with the local neo-Nazi group after his promising military career comes to an abrupt end when his promotion is denied due to questions around his sexuality. Lars is assigned to study under the sullen and menacing Jimmy (David Dencik), and their friendship very quickly evolves into a physical and emotional relationship. But, as one would expect, the course of true love never runs smooth, especially when at least one of them is a neo-Nazi.
Themes of love, fear, betrayal, shame and, yes, brotherhood, run strong in this film between men who aren’t at home with discussing emotions at the best of times. As a result, much of the dialogue remains unspoken, with lots of heavy, intense moments full of eye contact and internalised feelings, portrayed impressively by a strong and believable cast.
Stylistically, the film has some fantastic moments that really convey the dark intensity of the piece, but while this ‘still waters run deep’ mentality is good for the brooding, edgy atmosphere of the film, it is not always so for the narrative: the reason Lars falls in with the Nazis after his initial objections is never fully explained, and we’re never really sure if he believes the propaganda he’s exposed to, or if he’s simply seeking a place to feel accepted.
So while this might not be a film to watch on a date, it’s a thought-provoking and interesting portrayal of the agony of being caught between the beliefs and values of a surrogate family and the pull of true love, framed through an unusual lens.
Buy Brotherhood on DVD at Amazon.co.uk