Hosaini's 'My Brother the Devil' Chock Full of Ideas

By Torrance, Kelly Jane | Examiner (Washington, D.C.), The, May 11, 2013 | Go to article overview

Hosaini's 'My Brother the Devil' Chock Full of Ideas


Torrance, Kelly Jane, Examiner (Washington, D.C.), The


"My Brother the Devil" is not at all the film I was expecting. And that's both a good thing and a not-so-good thing.

It's a pleasant surprise because Egyptian-Welsh writer-director Sally El Hosaini, in her feature film debut, avoids telling an easy but often overwrought sort of story about immigrants struggling to leave their history behind them. But she tries so hard to make her story familiar enough to draw in viewers, but unexpected enough to disconcert them, that the film doesn't quite live up to its initial promise. Simply put, Hosaini stuffed her debut too full of everything she wanted to say about a certain immigrant experience. The result is a nearly two-hour film with ideas enough for multiple movies, but not enough depth for a single excellent one.

Rashid (James Floyd) and Mo (Fady Elsayed) have been navigating the streets of London's gang-heavy Hackney district quite differently. The British-born sons of Egyptian immigrants have a complicated relationship that's marked mostly by Mo's admiration of his older brother. Rash is a relatively high-level gang member who makes far more dealing drugs than he would if he got the real job his father keeps pushing him to get. But he refuses to let Mo into the gang. He wants his smart younger brother to finish school and go on to college and live the life no one in their family yet has.

But the seemingly clear paths of both boys come to a fork when the inevitable violence reaches Rash's gang. The death of a friend upends Rash's easy gangster lifestyle. …

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