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Two Brothers (2004)

Deux frères

Two infant tiger cubs, separated from their parents and each other.

Rating: 7/10

Running Time: 109 minutes

US Certificate: PG UK Certificate: U

Kumal and Sangha, the pair of tiger siblings from ‘Two Brothers’, already look destined to join Seabiscuit, Clyde the orang-utan and Sigourney Weaver’s hairy mates from ‘Gorillas in the Mist’ in the ultimate cast of all-time great movie animals. The stripy pair might look like they’d have your ‘ead off as soon as look at you, but it doesn’t take long to realise that you’d probably be safer stuck in a room with these two than you would with most humans. Ah, the magic of the movies!

The tale kicks off in the Cambodian jungle of the 1920s, where our two young heroes’ idyllic lifestyle of playing and sleeping (but, strangely, never hunting or eating!) is interrupted by a mob of jungle trophy-hunters, led by Guy Pearce as the apparently-legendary Aidan McRory. The cubs are separated, with one being sold to a circus and the other winding up being trained for public fighting. Will their paths ever cross again? What do YOU think!?

Taken at face value, this is probably the most charming film of the year. You can bank on it generating oohs and aaws and ain’t-they-cutes at theatres the world over, for this is a film where two of the planet’s most dangerous predators quite literally wouldn’t hurt a fly, never mind a person. They might not sing, dance, talk, or even wear cute little costumes (although one of them does obtain a spangly necklace at one point), but still, they’re behaving no more like real tigers than Tigger or the bloke from the front of the Frosties boxes.

Director Jean-Jacques Annaud wowed audiences using similar techniques fifteen years ago with ‘The Bear’, but this time his film finds it increasingly necessary to stretch our belief as it attempts to fit these two real animals into an essentially human plotline, with the result that it grows weaker as the minutes tick on.

Nonetheless, there’s little denying that this is an engrossing and relentlessly appealing piece of film-making, even if it does owe more to painstaking editing than actual performances. Kids – particularly those who love the animals themselves – should find it a real treat, and if it gets any others hooked then that can only be a good thing for the future of these magnificent but sadly dwindling creatures.

It's Got: A mum who’ll happily let her young ‘un share a bed with a tiger.

It Needs: A call to social services.


A film that grows increasingly more ridiculous as it wears on, but’ll still leave you feelin’ (feline??) pretty good at the end.