My Brother the Devil (2012)

MyBrothertheDevil_1Starring James Floyd, Fady Elsayed, Anthony Welsh, Amira Ghazalla, Nasser Memarzia, Aymen Hamdouchi, Arnold Oceng, Saïd Taghmaoui, Shyam Kelly, McKell David, Leemore Marrett Jr.

Directed by Sally El Hosaini

Expectations: Moderate.

threehalfstar


My Brother the Devil tells the story of a family of Egyptian immigrants who live in the London Borough of Hackney. Elder brother Rashid (James Floyd) is involved in the local street gang, selling drugs and whatever else it takes to make fast cash. His younger brother, Mo (Fady Elsayed), looks up to him and wants to be just like him. Rash does his best to protect Mo from his “job,” but the allure is too strong for him to completely quash the idea in Mo’s mind. So Rash reluctantly asks Mo to perform a quick pick-up for him, but this goes sour when Mo runs into some members from a rival gang, setting in motion the plot’s cascading dominoes that fall until the film’s finale.

There have been many films with this kind of plots, but the plot isn’t what I found compelling about My Brother the Devil. The plot is everything it needs to be, but it’s pushed forward by its characters and how their actions, thoughts and desires inform their actions. It is this quality that makes My Brother the Devil great, as the characters constantly challenged me and had me thinking. There isn’t a lot of communication between the brothers, and this leads to a lot of repressed emotion and frustration for both characters. This emotion is bubbling under the surface of the entire film, and this takes what could easily be a rote, seen-it-all-before film and turns it into something special.

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