Brother Harry and Tom Treadway are co-joined twins who are
effectively pimped out, by their father, to a music producer
looking for a new angle for a band. What originally looks
to be an offer from heaven soon turns out to be a Faustian
decent into hell...
of the Head (2005) was directed by Keith Fulton and Louis
Pepe who had previously collaborated on documentaries about
the making of the ill fated Gilliam film about Don Quixote
(2002) film as well as the Three Kings (2000) and Twelve
Monkeys (1997). The film won prizes at both the Boston
Independent Film Festival and the Edinburgh International
Film Festival and was nominated for a further two. The film
is based on a 1977 illustrated novel by Brian Aldiss, who
appears in the film as himself.
from Aldiss the film also has Ken Russell, popping up to give
his opinions on the central characters, and performances from
Jonathan Pryce and Jane Horrocks. The film pivots on the performance
of real life brothers Tom and Barry Howe, playing the co-joined
twins Harry and Luke Treadway, who are able to bring a great
deal of realism to their characters.
Brothers of the Head is more of a docudrama, rather
than a mockumentary, as it is devoid of anything approaching
humour. It lacks both the p*ss-take whit of 24 Hour Party
People (2002), or the surreal humour of This is Spinal
Tap (1984). The characters portrayed are universally vacuous
and unsympathetic, exploitative of each other at almost every
turn; these are not generally people that you would want to
know. This is not an unusual portrayal in this genre. Films
about bands, real or otherwise, usually concentrate on the
more salacious aspects of the industry, to the point that
the characters and situations are easily recognised for the
archetypes that they have become.
rock bands take drugs, fornicate and drink, that's hardly
revolutionary news. Neither is the fact that truth is often
the first casualty of the inevitable crash and burn. The film
treads an old path that was better explored in Performance
(1970) and Stardust (1974). The juxtaposition of music
and disability was better explored in a more innovative way
Devil and Daniel Johnston (2005) which leaves
Brothers as an interesting but otherwise flawed piece.
its core, this faux documentary has a fundamental problem
with its focus. Are we supposed to be looking at a film about
the workings of a band, or are we supposed to be watching
the tragic story of co-joined twins? Neither side of the film
really works well. The band story is old hat and, let's be
honest, though the twins appear to be living the decadent
lifestyle of dissolute stars their music is frankly not great.
As someone who grew up in that era, they would have been lucky
to have been considered wannabes with that material.
Apart from the original theatrical trailer, the disc comes
with over an hour of deleted material, sixteen scenes in all,
which gives credence to the contention that the film had a
fundamental lack of focus throughout the shoot.
you would imagine, in order to get the fake documentary style
that they were after, the film is shot in a variety of less
than slick ways. Audio options are stereo, 5.1 and DTS - all
with subtitles, though the soundscape is never impressive
enough to make full use of 5.1.
is the type of film that you are either going to view as a
brilliantly dark gothic trip towards tragedy or a less than
successful crashing together of ideas. Personally speaking,
apart from the rather freak show aspect of the twins fundamental
problem, this piece would be decidedly average.