My Brother's Keeper
Starring: Aaron Ashmore, Shawn Ashmore, Steve Byers, Alberta Watson, Benjamin Tabah,
Director: Jordan Barker
Year of release: 2004
Country: Canada

Watch the trailer (n.b. very slow to load)
Screen shots

(click to enlarge)

Plot summary
Five boats whiz past the 1000-meter mark at the annual high school Senior Rowing Championship. Among the crowd of cheering supporters, a well-dressed scout from the prestigious Oakridge College closely watches the pairs race. For Eric Woods, this is more than a race... it's the opportunity to win a coveted Ivy League Rowing scholarship. For his twin brother, Lou, college is nowhere on the mind-winning is his constant dream.

It's a close finish, but the privileged team from Hillfield Academy claims victory. Eric is furious with his bad performance in front of the scout. This was his "ticket to the good life" and he may have blown it. The Oakridge scholarships are announced. Lou is shocked when Coach McCoy privately informs him that he's been awarded a scholarship. Knowing that Eric will be devastated by the news, Lou asks McCoy to keep it quiet until the details are finalized. Lou knows what he needs to do, and he sets out to convince the Oakridge interviewer that there's been a classic case of mistaken twin identity- it's number 20, "Eric" Woods, who won the scholarship.

Without knowing about Lou's handy work, Eric goes off to Oakridge College to join the ranks of the rich and elite. Before Eric leaves, the brothers reaffirm their pact of winning the National Championship together in the spring. Time passes.. .Lou follows his father's path and takes a job at the local factory. Eric effortlessly adapts to his exciting life at Oakridge. He's easily seduced by the affluence of his fellow classmates and his new girlfriend, Tanya. Back home, Lou is pulling double shifts at the factory in order to keep Eric financially afloat. Then, in a series of events that begin to separate the twins, Eric informs Lou that they will no longer be a team for the Nationals; Eric will be rowing with Victor Stanton, his teammate from Oakridge. Lou's lifelong dream to compete in the Nationals is instantly shattered. Lou is determined to fight back. He solicits the help of his friend, Dave, to becoming his rowing partner for the Nationals. Dave thinks Lou is nuts; having never rowed before, he's the most unlikely of candidates for this role. Still, Lou persists and Dave finally agrees to support his friend. Coach McCoy takes on the arduous task of training the duo, and after intense "Rocky-like" training, a winning team emerges.

That National Championship begins with two days of qualifying heats. By shear persistence and determination, Lou & Dave make it to the finals where they will face off against five of the top teams in the country-including Eric and Victor. Moments before the final race, Eric discovers the truth about his scholarship and everything his brother has done for him. In a heartfelt moment, Eric and Lou attempt to reconcile, but it's too late.. .the race is about to begin.

Targets donít come much broader than My Brotherís Keeper ó this Canadian drama about identical twin brothers is to Dead Ringers as Plan 9 From Outer Space is to Citizen Kane.

Of course, the comparison is unfair ó David Cronenbergís classic study of fraternal angst benefited from intelligent source material, A-list technical collaborators and the directorís own unique vision. My Brotherís Keeper has been made by first-timers, and on the cheap, too. Its often laughably abrupt twists and myriad inconsistencies are likely mitigated as much by circumstance as incompetence, although thereís plenty of the latter to go around ó even the simple shot-reverse-shot dialogue exchanges are fraught with peril.

The other characters are drawn in amusingly blunt shorthand. In addition to the standard Evil Gentrified Hottie, thereís the íRoided-Up Rival Rower (and his sidekick, whose sadly unrequited love is left cruelly undeveloped); Eric and Louís Ineffectual Mother; and best of all, Maybe-Gay French Guy, who speaks like Pepe Le Pew, canít keep his friendly hands to himself and boldly pays off Ericís debt to a loan shark -- then just disappears, never to return.

Maybe the sky-sucking aliens from The Forgotten got him.

Rowing info
rowing text

back to the movies