Film: The Brothers McMullen

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Film:

The Brothers McMullen

Director: Edward Burns
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Genres:
Distributor: 20th Century Fox

Edward Burns’s debut film as an actor-director makes a virtue of its limited budget in the same way John Sayles’s The Return of the Secaucus 7 did in 1980. Stuck with limited technical means, Burns wisely puts his energies into a sophisticated story, knowing an audience couldn’t care less about lighting problems if they’re caught up in a terrific, character-driven movie with good actors. The tale concerns three adult brothers (Burns, Jack Mulcahy, Mike McGlone) whose complications in love and problems with commitment are rooted in their common experiences…

Reviews

Amazon.com

Edward Burns’s debut film as an actor-director makes a virtue of its limited budget in the same way John Sayles’s The Return of the Secaucus 7 did in 1980. Stuck with limited technical means, Burns wisely puts his energies into a sophisticated story, knowing an audience couldn’t care less about lighting problems if they’re caught up in a terrific, character-driven movie with good actors. The tale concerns three adult brothers (Burns, Jack Mulcahy, Mike McGlone) whose complications in love and problems with commitment are rooted in their common experiences in a violent, loveless family. Burns has a hang- loose style that keeps the film from getting drunk on intense drama. He sets up the emotional backdrop and lets the characters’ lives speak for themselves. Moreover, this is a filmmaker who enjoys life too much to spread any more misery; Burns delights as much in the things that aren’t necessarily good for people—illicit lovers, castration anxiety, too much time with one’s family, too much beer—as those things that are. The results are frequently very funny. —Tom Keogh

Barnes and Noble

With this charming 1995 comedy—produced with limited resources and shot on locations in and around his parents’ Long Island home—first-time director Edward Burns proved that filmmakers don’t need big stars or an extravagant production to create a memorable movie. Burns, who also wrote the screenplay, cast himself as one of three Irish-American brothers (Jack Mulcahy and Mike McGlone play the others) whose recently widowed mother cheerfully abandons her sons to set off for parts unknown with her new lover. The siblings aren’t sure about the other women in their lives, either: a restive Mulcahy contemplates cheating on wife Connie Britton, nervous McGlone questions his engagement to fiancée Elizabeth McKay, and Burns resists committing to a long-term relationship with girlfriend Maxine Bahns (at that time the director’s offscreen girlfriend). Burns adopts a minimalist visual style, letting his amiable characters and naturalistic dialogue carry the story in an almost off-hand manner. Refreshing in its simplicity, The Brothers McMullen doesn’t break any new ground, but Burns manipulates long-standing movie conventions with deceptive ease and gives them a distinctive Noo Yawk spin. He provides a detailed commentary for the DVD, which also offers trailers, interactive menus, and scene-selection features in addition to both widescreen and pan-and-scan versions of the film Ed Hulse

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