Review: Brothers’ Nest17 May 2018
Brothers’ Nest is an Australian indie drama directed by Clayton Jacobson and written by Jaime Browne.
Brothers’ Nest follows brothers Terry and Jeff (Clayton and Shane Jacobson) as they return to their childhood home with unclear intentions. If you’ve read nothing else about this film: don’t. I’ll lay out my thoughts here as best I can, but if that’s not enough you should at least avoid any overly-detailed reviews or plot summaries. A large part of what makes Brothers’ Nest great is the pacing of its exposition. Jaime Browne has masterfully woven a complex narrative of family and tragedy through the entire 98-minute runtime. Having any of it spoiled will likely compromise the experience.
Film-festival indies have long played up their “real” characters and settings, but Brothers’ Nest might have them all beat. I’ve rarely been as convinced by an on-screen pairing as I was watching Terry and Jeff. Shane and Clayton are real-life brothers, and it shows in their performance. At no point did I have to suspend my disbelief; the film ekes out their backstory at an agonising but engrossing pace that kept me engaged to the end.
Almost every constituent piece of Brothers’ Nest hit me close to home, from the characters and motivations to the consequences they brought about. Browne has lowered the scope and raised the stakes brilliantly with his writing, I genuinely struggled to find fault in his design. If you’re a fan of dissecting plots and scoffing at characters’ decisions, I challenge you to try pulling it apart.
Promotional material for Brothers’ Nest has labelled it a dark comedy, a description I find fairly lacking. Most of us have long associated Shane Jacobson with the loveable plumber Kenny, but you shouldn’t count on much of that humour here. Brothers’ Nest has comedic moments for sure, but a vast majority of folks won’t come out chuckling. That said, there is humour to be found in hindsight. Aside from that, I’m honestly struggling to find gripes with this film. Perhaps the sound design is a little hammy at times? And there are one or two Nolan-esque thriller moments that don’t quite sync with the overall tone.
Brothers’ Nest is one of my favourite indies in recent memory. The brothers Jacobson have outdone themselves, and I sincerely hope that this film goes on to join the canon of iconic Aussie movies. If you’re a fan of “film”, you owe it to yourself to give this one a watch. Budding actors and writers especially will find a lot to take home from the Jacobsons’ performance and Jaime Browne’s writing. Brothers’ Nest is to indie-drama what The Babadook is to horror: brilliant, memorable, and uniquely Australian.
Go in: curious and naive
For fans of: tight screenwriting, rural Australiana, and compelling drama