Sons of Philadelphia (tBrothers by Blood)

Sons of Philadelphia (tBrothers by Blood)
Running time:90 minutes
Director:Jérémie Guez
Release date:26 may 2021

Mulder's Review

After his excellent first film A Bluebird in My Heart (2020), we were eagerly awaiting Jérémie Guez's second film, Brothers by Blood, and it must be said that the result easily exceeds our expectations as it is a dramatic thriller revisiting with conviction the theme of gangster films. By discovering this successful adaptation of Pete Dexter's novel Brotherly Love, we plunge back into the heart of Philadelphia in which two cousins who grew up together will be forced to confront each other. Everything seems to oppose Michael (Joel Kinnaman) and Peter (Matthias Schoenaerts) in spite of the fact that they are two thugs. Whether the taciturn side of the latter or the very violent side of the former, the past that links their fate will have a terrible consequence.

Jérémie Guez, a writer with a passion for cinema turned director, has forgotten nothing of the art of storytelling and his film reminds us as much of Martin Scorsese's films as it does of the charm of the city of Philadelphia. One could thus see in the fact that Peter Food makes boxing an obvious nod not only to Raging Bull (1981) but above all to the Rocky film saga. Yet, as in A Bluebird in My Heart, he manages to revisit the gangster film with its violent settling of scores, its characters perfectly camped but places an important part in the psychology of its two main characters. From the introductory scene, the set is set and shows us how Michael's hold on life is strong and shows us that we should never joke with him. Peter appears as one of his henchmen and prefers to avoid any form of violence in order to overcome certain problems.

The violence as shown in this film does not need to be only visual, it can be seen in the attitude of the characters, in the verbal confrontations and the two clans that seem to have been fighting for many years. Each one has his own rules and shows that nothing is won in advance and above all that it is necessary to remain honest and not to let one's feelings come out, as the character of Peter shows so well. This one speaks little and seems permanently elsewhere. He refers to his great literary characters marked by fate, who nevertheless try to find a way out.

In the same way, the structure of Brothers by blood is original in which two time spaces continuously overlap. The first tells the story of Peter and his father's past played by actor Ryan Philippe (in one of his best roles). It shapes Peter's future behavior and explains the fraternal relationship that exists between him and Peter. The second takes place when Peter and Michael are adults and shows the dangerous world they live in. As in his first film, Jérémie Guez takes particular care in choosing his cast but also in making the action of the film credible. He imposes his true artistic flair and the care given to the photography by Menno Mans as well as the direction of his casting gives this film a very special aura. Far from signing American thrillers, Jérémie Guez finds the perfect approach to make Sons of Philadelphia (Sound of Philadelphia) a successful and striking film.

Brothers by Blood
Written and directed by Jeremie Guez
Produced by Aimee Buidine, David Hinojosa, Julien Madon, Christine Vachon
Based on Brotherly Love by Pete Dexter
Starring Matthias Schoenaerts, Joel Kinnaman, Maika Monroe, Paul Schneider, Ryan Phillippe
Music by Séverin Favriau
Cinematography: Menno Mans
Edited by Damien Keyeux, Brett M. Reed
Production company: Cheyenne Films, Killer Films, Brookstreet Pictures
Distributed by Les Bookmakers / The Jokers (France)
Release date: January 22, 2021 (USA), May 26, 2021 (France)
Running time: 90 minutes

Seen on September 8, 2020 at the Centre International de Deauville, 

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