Wow. The premise had such potential…
Happily-married husband and father goes to fight in Afghanistan, gets killed, his no-good brother gets close to his family and they come to love him. Then the soldier, who wasn’t dead after all, comes back home to find his family has moved on without him. Drama ensues.
Unfortunately, none of that happened, or at least it didn’t happen very well. Tobey Maguire was decent as the soldier, but Jake Gyllenhaal just wasn’t pulling his weight and Natalie Portman wasn’t given much to do.
But the script is the worst part. First of all, there’s no way in hell the government would have considered him dead without finding a body. His helicopter goes down and he (along with another soldier) is captured by what we assume to be the Taliban. So why don’t they consider him “presumed dead” or “missing in action” or something?
But even granting them that (after all, if she doesn’t think he’s dead then there’s no movie), the pacing was incredibly slow, that older kid was cute for about five minutes before she started being annoying, and the whole fireworks at the end thing fizzled out before it started.