War is hell. So is politics. This timely documentary takes on both bloody battles through interviews with Senator John Kerry and four men who served under him in Vietnam in 1969. In tight close-ups, interspersed with photos and archival footage, they describe their tour of duty on a swift boat on the Mekong Delta, an experience that cemented a friendship which would last the next 35 years.
(Though shot in 2003, before the recent Swift Boat Veterans controversy, the guys' recollections and obvious respect for Kerry help counter some of those attacks.) After a slow-as-a-tugboat start, the flick picks up speed as some of the vets emotionally confess their postwar battles with alcoholism and depression. But when the ride veers into political waters, with the band of brothers reuniting to support Kerry on the campaign trail, the trip starts to feel like a long-form political ad. So, in the end, Brothers proves only serviceable, not high ranking.

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