EXPECTATIONS: This is a remake of a Dutch film that I haven't seen so I can't really make any kind of comparisons, but the trio of stars in the film are all pretty solid dramatic actors and the trailer promises an interesting premise. I just hope that it doesn't make the mistake of many American dramas and make every emotional moment completely over the top.
REALITY: This is pretty solid. Casting Gyllenhaal and Maguire as brothers might not sound like a great idea, but with the aid of makeup and performance I completely believed that they were related.
Maguire plays a soldier who is sent to Afghanistan and pronounced dead after a helicopter crash. While his wife, Portman, and family are dealing with their loss Maguire is alive and being held captive by extremists. Gyllenhaal becomes close with his nieces and sister in law, but the film plays it out in a subtle and believable way. When Maguire comes home there is conflict and I think the film highlights a problem that I imagine many soldiers experience.
Maguire narrates the opening of the film, and I've just watched 'Spider-Man' too many times to not automatically connect Maguire to his most famous role, but Maguire soon became the tormented soldier he was playing. All the performances are solid; even the little girls in this film are convincingly upset and confused.
Some of the scenes in which Maguire is being held captive feel a little bit over the top, but never so much that they are beyond believability. For a heavy film there is also a nice dose of light hearted and nice moments. I laughed a few times at honest, everyday kind of humour.
I normally don't see the point in remakes, and perhaps this film is pointless also, but it is a solid pointless film.