Brothers (1977)

Bernie Casey in Brothers (1977)

Doing Time

When David Thomas (Bernie Casey) was arrested for his part in a robbery the lawyer the court appointed said he would probably be out within in 3 months. But 3 months turned into longer as inside David and other non white inmates are subjected to constant abuse and injustice from the white system which singles them out for punishment. Angered by this system David finds it difficult to tow the line and frequently finds himself thrown in to solitary for trouble whether it was his fault or not. Whilst inside he meets activist Paula Jones (Vonetta McGee) who becomes close to him.

Okay I am going to stop the synopsis of "Brothers" there and say that whilst I didn't know when I started to watch the movie I learned that for all sense and purpose this was the story of George Jackson, his time inside and his relationship with activist Angela Davis. Yes the names have been changed but when you do a quick read up on Jackson you soon see that "Brothers" is his story.

What does that means, well "Brothers" whilst sort of telling the story of Jackson is also a movie about the injustice of prison life with the blatant racism and cruelty which was going on inside. Now I can't tell you whether that is how it was but because "Brothers" tells the story of David from the prisoner's side it paints it in a very one sided manner as we only ever see David and other non-white inmates being treated badly and being singled out whenever there is trouble. That is a shame because it doesn't do justice to the true story on which it is based.

What this all boils down to is in the end "Brothers" whilst important because of the story it tells it does suffer from feeling very one sided and far too stereotypical in places, relying on prison movie cliches to fill in the gaps in between the story of David Thomas.