Eleven years after their breakthrough in Kenny, Clayton and Shane Jacobson have gone to a very dark place in their new film Brothers’ Nest.
The siblings play brothers with murderous intent in the blackly comic crime drama directed by Clayton, which had its world premiere in the Narrative Spotlight section at SXSW in Austin, Texas.
The first reviews were largely positive, praising the performances by the brothers and Sarah Snook’s cameo, the frightening tone, Richard Pleasance’s score and Peter Falk’s cinematography.
Scripted by Jamie Browne (The Mule, Secret Daughter, Please Like Me), the narrative sees Terry (Shane) and his older brother Jeff (Clayton) turn up at the family cottage where their mother (Lynette Curran) is dying of cancer.
Jeff blames his stepfather Rodger (Kim Gyngell) for the death of his father, who hanged himself after the boys’ mother left. Rodger is set to inherit the farm so Jeff plans to kill him and make it look like suicide. Snook makes a late appearance as a farmer who finds more than she bargained for when she arrives to collect a horse.
Rolling Stone’s David Fear predicted the film could and should be the sleeper hit of the festival, declaring: “Australian actor-director Clayton Jacobson and his sibling Shane Jacobson take a pulpy story of family, memories and murder and craft a funny, messed-up and moving tale that’s part Greek tragedy, part character-driven theater piece.”
The Iris’ Larry Heath acknowledged the film is hard to watch at times as the dark comedy evolves into a frightening tale which shows families at their most dysfunctional and dangerous. “It’s a film where you don’t know whether to laugh or to cry; most of the time it seems acceptable to do both,” he said.
“Brothers’ Nest is a wonderful if evil film, packed with strong performances from the Jacobson brothers. Just be prepared to never see the beloved Kenny in the same light again.”
Roger Ebert.com’s Brian Tallerico hailed a razor-sharp, darkly funny and tense slow-burn movie where “we know everything isn’t going to go as planned—there’s not a story if it does—and so we are stuck in this home with them, waiting for the fireworks to go off. And they truly do. This is a smart flick that should find a satisfied audience if a studio is smart enough to get it a release.”
Executive producer Tait Brady tells IF he was delighted with the responses to the premiere although he noted some of the laughter was uncomfortable and awkward. He looks forward to the reactions at the next three screenings.
International sales agent Richard Guardian will host a screening for US buyers next week. Brady’s Label will launch the film produced by Jason Byrne and Clayton Jacobson in May, probably May 10 or 17.