Such hopes and dreams are put on hold as the women flee south and the two brothers are conscripted into the army. Taking care of each other during sometimes desperate fighting, each serves the director with his personal reaction to the carnage. Jin-Tae is a natural warrior, risking his sense of self as he becomes more adept at killing and even accepting of it. The other sees, obviously for our benefit, the peculiar insanity of a civil war, especially during a scene when a former servant and friend, now fighting against his will for the North, is killed.
Kang is a skilled technician, and "Brotherhood of War" effortlessly entertains during its more apoplectic moments. Both the heroisms and absurdities of war are shown from the ground level, really the best place to observe such things. Some viewers may find the messages within the violence at times both muddled and oversimplified. Kang knows how to say things, but there are a few occasions where it's unclear what he's trying to say. Otherwise, "Brotherhood of War" is a fine example of South Korea's impressive growth as a filmmaking country, where the films now stand on equal ground with most Hollywood productions. Wayne Melton
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