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Baby Brother

average rating is 4 out of 5


Jason Knight


Posted on:

Jul 13, 2023

Film Reviews
Baby Brother
Directed by:
Michael J. Long
Written by:
Michael J. Long, Tom Sidney
Paddy Rowan, Brian Comer, Julia Ross, Billy Moore

Following a long period of absence, a troubled man heads back to his family home, leading to terrible consequences.


Liam (Comer ) is a jobless youth who lives with his mother (Ross) in Liverpool. Suddenly and unexpectedly, Liam's older brother Adam (Rowan) arrives at the doorstep and they have not seen each other for five years. Not particularly thrilled by his arrival, Liam reluctantly slends time with him inside the house. Things get further complicated and dramatic when Adam's reasons for being away are revealed and his actions will change the lives of those around him.


This hard-hitting drama has an interesting story structure. The story is told over the course of two days, one taking place in the present and the other taking place five years previously. The narrative keeps alternating between these two days, both of which contain fateful events and the scenes from the past were filmed in black-and-white, like American History X. The past events concentrate mainly on the strong former relationship between the two brothers, with the siblings hanging out together and causing some trouble that includes stealing and breaking into buildings. More seriously though, they have to deal with their mother's abusive partner Robby (Moore). The present events focus on how Adam's presence affects the people he encounters, which is far from good, as Adam is an emotionally unstable individual and potentially violent and dangerous.


Partially, this feature is an emotional drama that deals with a dysfunctional family and explores themes about brotherhood, parenthood, domestic violence, regrets and consequences. Things move towards thriller territory when Adam loses control, leading to brutality and devastation.


Adam is the character who steals the show (in the present part at least), an aggressive young man who has been through (and is still going through) very hard times and appears to be looking for some sort of redemption. Liam is rather different from his brother, a vulnerable and awkward youngster who has become attached to a toy dog and has big dreams. Their mother, although she cares for both of them, she has made mistakes that have affected her sons' upbringing. Robby is a negative presence in the family, as he mistreats them and is involved with bad people.


Director Long creates some well-executed long takes with a static camera and the dramatic music by Bobby Locke is a great plus and includes melancholic piano melodies. Interestingly, there are various black-and-white sequences throughout the film where one of the protagonists is shown in a medium closeup, in a darkened environment, with the light gradually coming and going. Although the purpose of this might not be clear, these sequences are well filmed and look quite dramatic.


Basically, the colour scenes contain the most drama and tension and it is the black-and-white ones that offer some happiness and solace. Overall though, this is a tragic story about the before-and-after of a terrible event and it has distressing scenes and a great deal of profanity. It is an unpleasant viewing, which shows how effective its dramatic screenplay is, along with the outstanding performances.

About the Film Critic
Jason Knight
Jason Knight
Indie Feature Film
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