Directed by Nicolo Donato
Brotherhood is being publicized—and is likely to be reductively referred to—as that "gay neo-Nazi drama", an accurate enough descriptor as far as it goes, but one that implies an easy irony that director Nicolo Donato and screenwriter Rasmus Birch largely avoid. Sensitive to the complexities of human behavior—even if they fail to shed too much light therein—the filmmakers push the paradoxical premise of two men finding love together while belonging to an organization that "doesn't like faggots" to its inevitable conclusion. And yet, the picture takes us little beyond this set-up, registering some of the anguish of the pair's untenable situation, but settling for predictably melodramatic conclusions.
Denied a promotion in the Danish army because of accusations of coming on to his troops (which he angrily denies), Lars (Thure Lindhardt) finds himself adrift, so when he befriends a group of neo-Nazis, despite disagreeing with their central racial assumptions, he joins the organization. As Lars shacks up in a beachside resort with fellow member Jimmy (David Dencik), the pair move from initial distrust through macho horseplay to eventual intercourse (shot as a tender chiaroscuro of tangled bodies, the darkness of the framing intended to recall the pair's other secret nighttime activity—attacking Iraqi refugees—which is filmed with a similar lack of light). The slow crescendo of the middle section, the gradual surrender to love, is the film's high water mark. From there it's a rapid fall to a dramatically unsatisfying climax, a conclusion both overdetermined and sentimental where the rest of the film scrupulously avoided just those qualities.
Opens August 6 at Cinema Village