Brothers of the Head
Time Out says
The premise sounds ripe for a Pythonesque mockumentary romp: Conjoined twins Tom and Barry Howe (Harry and Luke Treadaway, respectively) are recruited from eastern England’s boonies circa 1975 to be the next Bay City Rollers, but instead become punk-rock pioneers and tragic burnouts. Codirectors Louis Pepe and Keith Fulton (Lost in La Mancha) are dead serious, though—too much so. Along with screenwriter Tony Grisoni, they’ve molded sci-fi scribe Brian Aldiss and illustrator Ian Pollock’s elliptical 1977 novel (in which the Howe lads never directly appear) into an earnest treatise on the freakification of youth culture, and fame as an artistically de-unifying force. Fair enough, but the otherworldly characterization of twindom here exercises the most clichd nontwin fantasy in the book (trust me), and is nearly as exploitative as the story’s narrative setup.
Consisting of fake contemporary doc footage and scenes from an unfinished biopic of the Howes directed by Ken Russell (who appears as himself, as does Aldiss), Brothers also works against its slippery, Zelig-like verisimilitude with feature-film--pitched performances and perplexing pop-culty button-pushing: A Yoko/Courtney figure (Emery) appears midfilm, and there’s an Altamont moment captured at the Howes’ final concert. At least composer Clive Langer gets it right—his sloppy, angular tunes invigorate what’s otherwise an intriguing failure. (Opens Fri; IFC Center.) — Mark Holcomb