Film review: ‘BROTHERS’ NEST’ by Nick Gardener from ‘Built For Speed’

Brothers’ Nest is the latest collaboration between brothers Shane and Clayton Jacobson, the pairing that brought us the breakthrough Aussie hit KennyBrothers’ Nest, a Cohen Brothers-esque murder drama infused with family resentment and a touch of Hitchcockian creepiness is, however, a very different beast to Kenny.

Shane and Clayton play Terry and Jeff, two middle-aged brothers who have decided the way to deal with their crumbling lives is to knock off their stepfather (Kym Gyngell) in their old family farmhouse, make it look like suicide and hopefully inherit the estate. With the meticulous but unbalanced Jeff and the dim-witted Terry on the job, things of course go haywire.

Brothers’ Nest shifts fairly smoothly from black comedy, to family drama, to thriller and even to gory horror. The script by Jaime Browne and Chris Pahlow (Squinters, The King) keeps us intrigued rather than rivetted as the events veer off the rails and dark secrets about Jeff and Terry emerge.

As well as the more obvious Hollywood influences there are European cinematic references here and Clayton Jacobson shows himself to be a director with an, at times, striking visual sensibility.  Despite his inventive direction, the physical limitations of the story – which is set almost entirely within the old family home – give this film a stagey quality. To off-set this the film needed to have sparkling dialogue but the back and forth between Jeff and Terry is only mildly amusing and occasionally insightful.

Clayton Jacobson is appropriately creepy as the maniacally driven Jeff but it’s a little hard to see past Shane Jacobson’s jovial goofball persona established in Kenny and various TV appearances. Two veterans, Lynette Curran who appears as the boy’s flinty mother and Kym Gyngell who plays their folksy stepfather, deliver the best performances. Sarah Snook appears briefly and it feels like a waste having such a fine actor in a minor role.

Aussie cinema isn’t known for its genre films so it’s always refreshing when we take on that challenge. Brothers’ Nest is flawed and certainly not in the rarefied air of the films that influenced it but it’s engaging enough by itself and provides encouraging signs for the Aussie film industry.

Nick’s rating: ***

Genre: Thriller/ family drama/ horror.

Classification: MA15+.

Director(s): Clayton Jacobson.

Release date: 21st June 2018.

Running time: 98 mins.

Reviewer: Nick Gardener can be heard on “Built For Speed” every Friday night from 8-10pm right here on 88.3 Southern FM.  Nick can also be heard on “The Good, The Bad, The Ugly Film Show” podcast.


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