A Brother’s Whisper @ Pan African Film Festival

Often when soldiers return home after a long time or several tours of duty they have trouble readjusting to life as life has changed since they left. Solomon Bordeaux (Jacinto Taras Riddick – Cop Out, the Out-of-Towners) is not finding things easy back in his hometown of Brooklyn. Time has not stood still for the people around him as well as Brooklyn itself.

He has served three tours of duty in the Iraq-Afghanistan Wars. Now, he is back with no job and a case of PTSD. Finding his way is not going to be without its bumps and bruises – for Solomon and others in his life.

Solomon is not the only one going through a tough time. His younger brother David (Che Ayende – appeared in episodes of The Good Wife and Person of Interest) is struggling as well. The aspiring boxer’s marriage to his wife Leona (Lekethia Dalcoe – first film) has hit a dry patch in the bedroom and he has a secret he has been hiding for so long – even from himself – that it is now negatively affecting all of his life.

A good idea is not enough when it comes to making a solid film. It takes a whole bunch of aspects pulling together in the same direction. A Brother’s Whisper starts off on the right foot with an interesting kernel of an idea or story. One about a pair of brothers who are both on the surface hyper-masculine – one is a soldier and both are boxers – but one is hiding something about himself that does not fit into that world. Something that he has seen his own brother lash out about. So he attempts to keep it repressed until he can no more.

Step one – check. Steps two through ten involve the execution of that idea/story. Things like acting, directing, cinematography, and soundtrack all have to be firing on all cylinders as well. It is like the saying that you are only as strong as your weakest leak. Well, in this film the weakest leak comes from the man behind the camera. While the acting is not great and the cinematography is rather run of the mill, what ultimately brings down the film is the execution of the director, Jacinto Taras Riddick. It is so awkward that at many points it is rather pell mell or all over the place. Tripping itself up at every turn.