This is not the type of film one would normally expect to find Harvey Keitel in and his character is out of tune with what he usually does. Not that this is necessarily a bad thing, but the character has an air of sentimentality that is unusual for him to portray. The film tries to adhere to this sentimental feeling, while also attempting to be offbeat and darkly humorous and it just misses the mark on all three counts.
[Guest review by Claudia Hauter]
The story begins with Duke White’s (Keitel) suicide and the shocking truth he reveals in his will that his three eldest sons will die due to an experimental drug he asked them to take ten years earlier. His sons include a 40-something retired boxer, a straight-laced nine to five all-around good guy and a half-Vietnamese 10-year-old. The characters are quite endearing, and their vastly varying personalities sets up a great dynamic between them, but there is a general lack of trying to expand upon themes of brotherly love and familial connection. The plot starts loosening and the scenes dragging while it tries to be funny and simultaneously existentialist.
There are some good one-liners that the actors deliver well and the whole ensemble does a good job working together to bring cohesiveness to the story. The narrated flashbacks cause the story to drag at times, but there are some great scenes between the brothers which helps pick up the pace again – such as Jacob (Paulo Costanzo) and Todd (Siam Yu) dressing up as a Elvis and a war vet and careening around town in a classic car firing guns and trying to get tattoos.
As ever, there is an attempt to weave in a romantic strand; but this doesn’t gel well with the rest of the story as its introduction is sudden and somewhat awkward.
The basic idea, although somewhat far-fetched, is still unique and opens up deeper themes which it never expands upon or even adheres to. The ending is ultimately both predictable and convenient and the whole thing comes off as fairly standard feel-good fare.