Here’s a review/post I started about a month ago and never finished. It still rings true.
Four Brothers is a movie I remember catching on tv a while ago. It’s one of those movies where you see Mark Whalberg and you think “Hey, Marky Mark!” And so you watch it (I had this similar reaction with Shooter). I must have been young at the time, or something, because for whatever reason, I wasn’t a fan of it. I think it has to do with what happens near the end, but let’s not dwell on that because you might not have seen it and I’m still upset…Whatever the reason it is, I finally got around to actually watching it.
The plot is basically like this: Evelyn Mercer is a
lovely badass lady who adopts 4 boys (Bobby, Jeremiah, Angel and Jack) that are bad kids and she ends up making them somewhat (whisper that word because it’s debatable) respectable gentleman. The movie starts years after this, when Evelyn is murdered in a robbery (not a spoiler! It’s in the trailer!). Being suspicious of the world and everyone in it, Bobby and his brothers decide they want to find who killed their mom. So basically, it’s one giant mystery, and adorable sibling bickering.
You know the drill, if you haven’t seen it and don’t want spoilers, don’t continue reading. Anyway, I highly recommend it because it’s a good movie.
Part of me is grateful I waited until I was an adult to watch it. You definitely catch more when you’re an adult than when you’re younger. I also am grateful that I’ve graduated high school with lit analysis off the charts under my belt, as well as being a Junior in college and having a lot of random classes taken, because I feel like they definitely gave me a perspective on things that I never would have seen before that. I’m able to come to understanding things I wouldn’t have earlier. I also want to know more abut the characters and am kind of miffed that there isn’t anymore background info on them. Like where is my 40-page detailed analysis on Jack Mercer guys?
Because there isn’t more info on the characters than what we’re presented, I like to make my own up. I should probably refresh your memory on who’s who and what they’re like. Then maybe give you my take on them.
Bobby Mercer is the oldest (I presume he is, I can’t think if we’re told that he is or not, we might be?). He’s also extremely hot-headed and will rip your head off if he catches you talking shit about his family, so imagine what he does if you murder a family member of his. He’s known as the Michigan Mauler because he is so ruthless on the ice when he plays hockey. I guess he was so ruthless, he got suspended from like every hockey league ever, and now he’s not the big-shot hockey player anymore. In the beginning of the movie, it’s kind of hinted at that he was in jail before the events of the movie take place, but I don’t think that’s even said explicitly, but I like to think he was. I imagine Bobby’s childhood as being short-lived. His parents were either divorced, or one was dead, and the remaining one was an alcoholic, or maybe addicted to drugs of some sort. I imagine they were poor, and probably at one point Bobby was taken away from this parent and put in the foster system, only to be pulled from one family to another because he was such trouble. Or, I offer this alternative view, he was simply abandoned as a young baby on the steps of an orphanage because when they go through Evelyn’s deposit box he has no papers, and this suggests that no one really knows his origin. In either situation, he eventually found his way to Evelyn Mercer, who knew he wasn’t going to stay in any other home, so she adopted him, making him the first of the four Mercer brothers.
After the events of the movie, I like I think that he stayed in Detroit, possibly even in the Mercer house after fixing it up after the tragic shootout. I think maybe he coaches hockey at the local ice-rink and while the parents of his students aren’t quite thrilled with his aggressive tactics on the ice, their kids are on the best team in the state. Maybe he eventually winds up coaching college hockey. I also love to think that he settles down with a family, and has some kids. Maybe two kids, Jack and Evelyn. OR, Bobby is actually gay and comes out. I mean, it would make sense as to why he was so hell bent on getting Jack to admit to being gay, maybe he was projecting it on him? I think that would make an interesting story and I could see him dating a guy who is the opposite of him (quiet, small, level-headed), and maybe being the leader of the Gay-rights movement in Detroit (which sounds like a really dangerous job, but something Bobby would be all for). I’m not sure how well this idea works out, and I think even if he was gay he probably wouldn’t come out ever in his life, but I thought it’d be an interesting take on Bobby.
Jeremiah is the next in line. Throughout the movie you kind of get the vibe that he’s the most mature of the four. Then some things are revealed and you kinda start to loose faith. My friend and I seemed to agree that by that point, Jack was turning out to be the most level-headed, but enough about that. Jeremiah is the most mature in terms of lifestyle. He’s got a family and a nice house (that is brick so Bobby can’t burn it down like the tree-house), and he seems to be this big-shot businessman. He turns out not really to be one, but, I like to think that after the movie he is successful in getting that warehouse he owns into that cool mall thing he wanted to do.
I feel like as a child, Jerry was orphaned around the age of 6 or 7, and like Bobby was bounced around the system until Evelyn gets a hold of him. He sees that he is from Detroit originally when he finally gets to see his birth certificate in Evelyn’s deposit box. He seems to like the idea that he was born and raised in Detroit. I don’t think his childhood was as bad as the other three’s. I think maybe it had been somewhat normal and then it wasn’t (for whatever reason, like I said earlier, maybe he was orphaned), and then he began to rebel because he hated being in the system and being placed in home after home. I think the next time I watch the movie I’m going to focus a lot more on him, because I spend a lot of time focusing on his brothers.
Angel is the next brother. He’s in the marines, which is quite interesting. I don’t think he acts like someone in the marines, but I wonder if maybe he joined just to get out of Detroit. He’s almost as hot-headed as Bobby is, but seems to take orders from Bobby (like Jack, but not like Jerry). He also has this affair with Sofi, or as Bobby lovingly refers to her as, La Vida Loca. They actually are kind of adorable together, despite all the fighting. I like to think that they do get married after the movie, because it almost seems like there is no one else for them.
In terms of his childhood, I think it might have been violent. Maybe similar to what I think Bobby’s may have been like. I can tell that things really took a turn for the better when he was taken in by Evelyn. In the scene where he imagines her talking about his new tattoo, he’s pretty much ashamed for having marked his body up some more, but he imagines her as being excited about his new tattoo. It makes you wonder what it was like growing up with Evelyn as a mom. She seems to have been strict, but also very nurturing. Nurture is something that is obvious that Angel needed, so maybe as a child he was ignored?
Jack is the youngest of the four brothers, and you can tell he is. All of them love him dearly, but they all scold him too when it’s necessary. He’s an interesting guy, to be honest. He dresses like a greaser (as my friend says, but I don’t really see it that way). He has baggy jeans, with a chain, black shirts and wears that leather jacket throughout the film. That stupid leather jacket, man. It is totally not Detroit Winter material. I spent most of my time watching the movie going “JACK PUT ON MORE LAYERS”. It’s almost as if he was trying to prove a point to his brothers, like “Hey, look I’m tough and grown up, I can handle the cold”. He’s also the most sensitive out of the four. Maybe it has to do with him being the youngest, or perhaps his past? I think it’s a bit of both. He appears to hate violence. I mean, he seems fine with his brothers wrestling, and maybe him getting into a fist fight isn’t totally uncalled for, but I mean, full-blown gun-violence. The kind where people die. In the scene where Bobby is chasing the two shooters in the snow storm, Jack is the most logical. He repeats more than once that they should pull over, and stop chasing. Bobby of course is not going to listen to the little fairy that is Jack. Then when they go to kill the two guys, Bobby tells him to stay back by the car. Probably because 1) Bobby knows he’ll object and is against murder (like a normal person…) 2) I think his past was really violent and Bobby is shielding him. Earlier, Jack also states his displeasure of how Bobby works things. When they’re questioning the kid that broke his leg, Jack looks remorseful, getting yelled at for looking back at him when they walk away. And even earlier still, when Bobby goes to interrupt the basketball game at the school, Jack mentions how he was going to get them killed. This part breaks my heart because it’s kind of foreshadowing. Angel turns to Jack during this scene and makes a comment “Whatcha mean ‘we’, white boy?”. I don’t think Angel would have said that had he knew what was coming.
I think Jack’s past is a very upsetting one. He seems damaged, more so than the others. And during the scene when the others are imagining Evelyn, he sees her too and almost refuses to acknowledge it. She tell him that he’s safe (which turns out not to be true). She also mentions how she knew he had a real bad past. It’s interesting that she says this to him, but doesn’t mention hid brother’s pasts. I think this means that maybe he was abused as a child. I’m not sure in what way, but it was definitely abuse (which could explain the aversion to some types of violence). This and he finds that he’s from Lansing, Michigan, which isn’t too far from Detroit (since I only know the UP area of Michigan, I looked it up and on google maps, it says the drive is about an hour and a half), but it’s still distance. Maybe it was required to give him distance from his past? I’m not sure, but he definitely experienced bad things. It only makes matters more tragic when he, himself, gets shot. I’m pretty sure I never finished this movie because I once switched the tv channel and saw that scene, and couldn’t believe they’d kill off an adorable guy like him. It wasn’t until a few weeks ago that I got the courage to watch it, despite his death.
It’s hard to imagine a future with Jack, but also without Jack. I think had he lived, he’d have gone back to his band, maybe became a successful band. I think he’d visit his family often, but never return to Michigan permanently. But, since he didn’t live, things are much different. I think his brothers won’t ever get over his death, same with their mom’s. Both were caught in the crossfires. Evelyn was just trying to buy a turkey, and Jack just wanted to know who killed his mom (which I guess is a dangerous thing to ask, especially when it turns out to be a gangster like Victor Sweet).
This movie is really great. It’s got a lot going for it. The acting is superp. The plot is riddled with various genres (action, mystery, drama). Not only that, but the writing makes you feel for these brothers. When they feel pain, you feel pain. When they’re happy, you’re happy. And no matter how messed up they are, you always want to root for them. I don’t know about you, but I can’t stand movies/tv with no characters I can root for. I need to have something to feel connected to, and with Four Brothers, I do. So, here’s to the Four Mercer Brothers!