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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

SIFF Sighting: THE 5000 DAYS PROJECT: TWO BROTHERS (Documentary, USA)

"Some kids have a journal; I have an older brother," says Luke Nelson, one of the two brothers featured in this installment of The 5,000 Days Project.

The idea that Director Rick Stevenson came up with a decade ago, to chronicle the lives of elementary students as they grew, will sound very familiar to those who love the British Up series by Michael Apted, who revisits the original children he interviewed for the 1964 TV show every seven years (critic's note: the latest edition, 56 Up, debuted yesterday and follows three of the original kids).

This is a bit different—shot in closer installments—and this particular 'chapter' zeroes in on two Mormon brothers in Shoreline, Wash. When they're little, they don't get along. When they're older, they discover Sam has a problem with depression and Luke turns out to be his biggest ally. When they're ready to leave the nest, one heads to a foreign country on his religious mission; the other sets out to play football at a Mormon university.

The trouble is: if you can't relate to Mormonism or being someone's brother or battling depression, there's not a lot of revelation here for you as an audience member. It's not presented in a way that makes you want to invest any emotion.

There are admittedly tender moments and sweet memories shared here, but the footage feels too much like unedited home movies to be completely effective. I'd revisit Up again before watching another chapter of this.

THE 5,000 DAYS PROJECT: TWO BROTHERS will screen at the 38th annual Seattle International Film Festival later this month. For tickets, visit the SIFF website.

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