MUBI

Hermano

@johng5150
Hermano

There are a lot of things the film does right. It’s the final 10 minutes where the film gets a lot of stuff wrong.

5.5 /10
Hermano poster

A week ago I ran into a young man from Venezuela. His name was Andres Abraham, a genuinely nice person. He was on his way to college in a city about an hour north where I live. He been in the U.S. for just two days, he knew nobody. I respect that kind of guts. We both had a few minutes and I’m naturally a curious person when it comes to foreign lands, so I asked him questions about his homeland. He brought up Hugo Chavez. Not me. I told him I didn’t know much about the situation, only what I was fed by news channels, so I couldn’t have a valid opinion. He told me whatever I had heard, it was worse. As he talked about his life back home he was fighting back tears. Andres told me he never wants to go back to Venezuela unless he is visiting family.

As fate would have it, I would watch a film from Venezuela this week. That film is Hermano and it tells the struggle of some of the people in that country. I couldn’t help but think of Andres the entire time I watched the film. Hermano tells the story of two young men, Julio and Daniel, who are raised as brothers and have the unfortunate task of growing up in the very dangerous slums of Caracas. They find an escape in football (soccer). Both play for the same local team and both are easily the best players. Julio is the captain of the team as he exudes a natural charisma. Daniel is the younger of the two and is probably the most gifted player on the team. Both are being scouted by a local professional team, but clearly Daniel is the one who wants it more.

Julio himself is involved with a gang that eats up a lot of his ambition. Daniel is set on getting out of the slums. Naturally this causes a rift between the brothers. An act of violence in the middle of the film causes that rift to crack even more. A person close to Julio and Daniel is killed and the brothers both have different ways on solving the issue. Daniel seems more intent on moving on from the death and concentrating on getting signed with the professional team and Julio is destined to find the killer and exact his revenge. This struggle is the primary focus of the film.

Hermano movie review

There are a lot of things the film does right. It’s the final 10 minutes where the film gets a lot of stuff wrong. For one, Hermano is a very well made film. The director, Marcel Rasquin, is a first timer. He shows a lot of promise. He has a way of showing beauty in some truly ugly places. The way he shoots the film is exquisite. At times the camera seems to be floating over the slums like a cloud. He gets the game scenes right too. This is something that is almost never done right. Hermano has them down pat.

A lot of scenes involving sports seem to happen too fast sometimes. Usually they are edited like a music video with a lot of close ups, so you cannot tell what is actually happening, causing a lot of confusion. Rasquin is smart and pulls back a lot of his shots to allow the audience to get into the games. In terms of sports movies, this was easily one of the easiest to follow.

The tone of the film set by Rasquin and his collaborators is pitch perfect. The film is delicately handled from scene to scene. The film is played off as a watered down, more ethereal version of the great Brazilian film City of God. Except instead of gang violence as the primary focus it’s football.

What really hurts the film is some of the decisions the film makes in its final act. Daniel, a character who was well written and acted for the first hour of the film does two things that are completely idiotic. The first one involves his meeting with the professional team who wants to sign him. Daniel says its either you sign my brother and I or neither of us. Personally, if I was in this situation and knew how much of a loose cannon my brother was and how great of an opportunity I had, I’d be signing that contract on the spot and getting out of barrios.

The second bad decision that happens is literally in the last minute and sinks the whole film. I can’t reveal what actually happens because it would ruin a lot of the story of the film. The decision that Daniel makes at the end of the film goes against who he was the entire time. The act wouldn’t be so bad if it wasn’t handled so poorly by the filmmakers. This is the only wrong step Rasquin makes the entire time of the film, but it’s enough to ruin the experience. I felt like I was stabbed in the back. Maybe the point of the story was you can be good your whole life and make one mistake that can ruin it all. It’s just in the way it’s handled that makes the whole event clumsy. It’s unfortunate too, because for 100 minutes Hermano was a well told story. It’s just a shame about that ending.

Hermano Movie review

5.5/10
Best Of The Web
  • kinan

    WARNING SPOILERS SO DO NO READ
    SPOILERS
    SPOILERS FOR PEOPLE WHO SAW THE MOVIE ONLY
    so my question is what happens at the end after daniel does the act ? does he die? or does he stay alive and just does not make it …to the team.

  • speculator

    WARNING SPOILERS SO DO NO READ
    SPOILERS
    SPOILERS FOR PEOPLE WHO SAW THE MOVIE ONLY

    I had the same question after I finished the movie. I am assuming he died because of the gunshot noise on a black screen similar to earlier in the movie. Also, he is not there at the end of the film supporting Julio at the lineup so if he’s not dead then he must be in jail or hiding. But, I can only speculate about what happened. Perhaps the director wanted to leave the ending ambiguous so the viewer can decide how Daniel’s actions affect his future. He was, ironically, the one who tried to prevent his brother from being a murderer so maybe he took it upon himself to kill Max in order to bury his brother’s hachet. It might have been his way of giving his brother a fresh start in life.

  • Erick

    Thats what I to know as well, as soon as the movie ended and I only saw Julio I began to do research its very Heart-braking the way it ends for me, but my question also is, did Daniel die or is he in jail or hiding. Also its a movie and all but Julio must be devastated to see his mother has died and maybe his “Brother” as well, he is playing for Caracas but just imagine how terrible he must feel, I just wanted to share this with you.

  • GMZ

    I believe the ending is suppose to mean that one day Julio saved Daniel’s life when he found him. Now daniel made that decision to save Julio’s life.

  • Justin Rezende

    The message throughout the movie is how hard it is in Venezuela and other South American countries to pull yourself out of poverty. The ending is an example of one moment costing Daniel that chance.

  • Mario

    It was the only way his brother would understand that violence only brings more violence, it was the only way to make him forget about vengaence an being angry and just glorify his brother’s life by doing what he wanted.

    The main thing that ruins it is what you said, it was the only scene where I felt the director didn’t do a good job. It was so lacking in comparison to the rest of the film, that it felt out of place

  • Kat

    I had the same question about the ending!!

  • Moses

    My assumption was that since he wasn’t shown at the end of the film that meant he died. His brother is shown living his dead brother’s dream even though the roles should have been reversed.

  • Moses

    I really don’t think Daniel’s actions are that far fetched. First of all, he was dealing with his mother’s death and trying to save his brother when it came to the contract. His second action could be similar to how a lot of passive people allow things to build up before they finally snap. The game and his brother’s words finally cause that snap.

  • amanda

    this is exactly what the point is, and I thought it was well done… the ending was supposed to have that ambiguity… it is assumed that Daniel killed Max and in turn was killed by the boss’ gang in order to get his brother out of that mess and out from under their influence…. right? or did I read this story wrong?
    … I thought the movie (even the ending) was very well done… I do believe I would have hit more of an emotional connection with Daniel if I had seen him actually die at the end, but the more I ponder, the more I realize that it really was not the point of the story… I don’t think the story is about Daniel as much as it is about his brother Julio…. (that’s just a personal opinion though..)

  • Gian

    ONLY FOR PEOPLE
    WHO
    WATCHED THE MOVIE
    At the end Daniel sacrifices for his brother to return him the favor of saving his life at the beginning of the movie, and to get his brother out of the slum. The director was motivated by a professional football player who passed through a similar (not the same) situation before becoming a player of Caracas FC. Hope my review has been helpful for some.

  • dave

    blake you couldn’t be further from the truth, you sound like an idiot and obviously missed the whole point of this film or you were to busy having your head up your ass, your probably truly retarded or just a heartless ginger bitch.

  • Julian

    This movie made perdect since. This review is horrible. Julio said Daniel was a gift. Daniel was saving Julio’s life. He wanted his brother and him out of the slums.

  • Rachel

    I agree with Gian, it was what Julio told Daniel about leaving him in the trash that I belive made Daniel snap…

  • Chad

    Obviously the reviewer didn’t understand the movie at all, if the rating is so low because of two choices Daniel made. All he had his whole life was his brother, and his mother. His mother is dead, and that just leaves Julio left in his life. He always played side by side with his brother in everything, and even though Julio had an enormous amount of raw talent, he made sure to give Daniel equal opportunity to flourish out there on the field. Daniel wasn’t going to leave him behind to go sign a contract. His brother meant more to him than any of that money ever could.

    The end decision should be easy to understand. His mother is killed so he is filled with a rage. A deep anger that you probably don’t understand, which is obvious from your ignorant posting. He holds this all in just to protect his brother. It is a different world out there, one in which one bad decision can really flip everything over and leave your family tree cut at the tip. His brother was just about to walk out on everything that he worked for to get to that moment, and it was all circled around Max, the guy who killed his mom. That anger exploded and he rushed and just let it all out. How is that hard to understand? It’s simple! And by doing this, he protected his brother. He gave his brother the peace of mind of knowing who did it, and took the bullet instead. He sacrificed himself in the most selfless way possible to protect his brother, Julio; whom he cherished more than anything. It’s the way of the martyr. It’s easy to understand, and the decisions do not ruin the film.

    Get out of your ignorant bubble, and try to understand depth. Characters don’t just have a shallow linear path in front of them, and if they stray.. Uh oh, the director made a mistake. It’s called consequence, and reaction. LEARN IN.

  • Josiah

    Spoiler!!!
    All I know is that Daniel dies at the end. His brother Julio hugs him, but the gang boss presses the gun to Daniels back and you hear a gunshot. Doesn’t get much clearer than that

  • Lester Fernandez

    I feel as if Daniel made that decision because he just couldnt take all the trouble max had done for him and his brother and he felt in debt to his mother since she saved his life. He felt as if he had to repay his mother by not letting his brother ruin his life.

  • Jim

    SPOILER…First of all, I agree with some posters here that this Blake person is such a bad reviewer and I don’t think he gets the movie at all and ,to be frankly…is heartless. I personally will give this movie at least 9 out of 10.
    After reading some of the post now I understand it makes perfect sense Daniel killed Max to save his brother Julio. However, I went back and watched the ending three times and something is troubling me. I see after Daniel killed Max, Julio was put both his hands over Daniel’s shoulder and then they were looking each other in the eyes. Then Julio pushed Daniel and Daniel fell on the ground while a few gun men grabbed him. Then it’s the black screen and gun shot. So I think Daniel did lie. But what I don’t understand is why Julio pushed Daniel instead of saving him?

  • Jim

    Sorry… I meant ” Daniel did die” not ” lie” typo.

  • JAG

    JAG
    SPOILER
    Spoiler…? I wish someone had sae me the 2 hrs. I spent by telling me the end was going to stink!
    Ok… VERY disapointed. I totally agree with the critic, the good brother ends contradicting everything he stood against throughout the movie. I guess I have been out if Latin America for a long time. The movie, in my point of view, is an example of Latin American Culture where drug lords are glorified and good citizens are ridiculed and shown as cowards… Good deeds and good actions don’t payoff and been a drug dealer/thug does like “corridos”. Very disapointed and I give it ONE star. If I go to the movies and spent 90 minutes watching it, I don’t want to spend another minute researching what happen at the end…

  • Marcus

    I didn’t like the ending either. If Daniel got killed from kicking a guy to his death(?), Julio would have taken the law into his own hands right there and then and end up getting killed in the process.

  • LL

    That is the point. After the first couple of times during the movie when Daniel says that Julio and his mother saved him…I realized there is this ambiguity that the director is playing with in terms of whether he knows the entire story of how he was found. he seems to understand what was done for him b/c he keeps stating that they saved his life…but in the scene where he asks Julio what it was like the day he was born…it again throws whether he knows into limbo. i think the most important part of the entire movie is the comment that Julio makes about Daniel getting his dream and that they should have left him when they found him…I think that statement and the shock of it…is what causes Daniel to lose control. As Julio and mama saved him, he now knew the absolute truth, and he made a decision to sacrifice himself to save Julio.

  • Darrien

    I think it is also sad I was shocked for sometime. I think the real message of the movie was that Daniel felt like his brothers life was more important than his own. He was willing to do what he did so that Julio wouldn’t do it. So he saved him from doing the dead because he felt like he owed his moths and let her down. So now he has a chance to save his brother and takes the opportunity. Poor decision I thought but hey became much more bolder through out the film.

  • Yamina

    SPOILERS. DON’T READ IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN IT.

    The acts the Daniel did to the goalie really set off Julio’s gang, and in the moments where the screen goes black and the shooting continues then moves on to just Julio at the professional soccer game really does imply that he is dead. Though Erick said he might have gone to jail or hiding, killing a gang member like that out in the open with the rest of the crew watching was asking for a death wish, and unfortunately he got it. You can’t get away from that sort of shit. If Daniel wasn’t shot right there on the field, he would have been hunted down not long after and ended up killed anyways.

  • HB

    SPOILERS!
    Even though the ending was very abrupt and seemed absurd, I think it was consitent with the rest of the movie and the best illustration of de character of the movie and especially of Daniel. The title of the film is hermano, it is about the connection between these brothers. I think the point is that Daniel is obsessed with this connection, with his brother. The coach says at one point that if Daniel is to succeed he has to step out of the shadow of his brother. Sometimes he does this, by going for the finals and going for the deal. But still he is more obsessed with his brother than with football. Because he only wants football if he can have it with his brother. So he puts it all on the line at the meeting. And finally when he realizes he can’t have football and his brother, he chooses the love for his brother, by taking revenge.