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Film / Two Brothers

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Two Brothers (Deux Frères) is a 2004 adventure family film directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud. It is about two tigers who are separated as cubs and then reunited years later. Set in 1920s French Indochina, two tigers are separated as cubs after the ancient temple where they live is disturbed by Aidan McRory (Guy Pearce), who intends to steal and sell the ancient statues.

McRory is an unscrupulous explorer, big-game hunter and temple looter. He discovers Kumal and befriends him, but McRory is arrested for stealing from the ancient temple and Kumal is kept by the chief in the Cambodian village where McRory had been staying. The chief then sells Kumal to a circus where he is to be the star attraction.

Sangha remains in the jungle with his mother, but both are soon trapped by McRory as game for a vain Khmer prince to hunt. The mother is shot in the ear and thought to be dead before she jumps up and runs off with a hole in her ear. Sangha is discovered by young Raoul, son of the French administrator, Normandin, and becomes the child's pet.

Not to Be Confused with this over-the-top action movie from Rick and Morty.

This film provides examples of:

  • Ancient Tomb: More temple than tomb, actually, and more realistic than the average horror series setting, without any booby traps and undead.
  • Androcles' Lion: Or tiger, as the case may be. Actually, the two tigers become an Androcles' Lion for each other when they are forced to fight each other, and after a minute or so of serious fighting they realize they are siblings. They then change to play fighting instead.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: Sangha doesn't hurt the boy Raoul because the two of them had a happy childhood together and Kumal spared Aidan when the latter was pointing a gun at Sangha, giving him ample time to put the gun down. All because Aidan used to give Kumal lemon drop sweets when he was a cub.
  • Eye Take: When the tigers realize they're siblings.
  • Gladiator Games: Not with humans, but with tigers.
  • Great White Hunter: Aidan McRory plays this straight in how he portrays himself in his books, but his actual character is closer to a deconstruction of the trope.
  • Hate Sink: Almost all the human characters that mean the tigers harm in the movie, but mainly Zerbino the circus ringmaster, and his fire-eater, Saladin, who are cruel and abusive to Kumal when the latter becomes part of the circus. The only positive thing they do in the film is teach Kumal how to jump through the ring of fire, which would later help Kumal and Sangha to escape the hunters at the end.
  • Karma Houdini: All the antagonists. Except for Bitzy, the dog that harassed Sangha the entire time, as well as Saladin, who Sangha bit the hand of, and Zerbino, who Kumal attacked and probably killed.
  • I Will Fight No More Forever: McRory promises Raoul that Kumal and Sangha will be the last creatures he hunts.
  • Pet Baby Wild Animal: Sangha to Raoul and Kumal to McRory. Unlike many examples, they explicitly mention the fact that if the tigers go back into the wild, they will not be able to hunt for themselves, and may even end up preying on humans.
  • Red Baron: Caesar, the old tiger in the circus Kumal was bought was called "Bloody". After he is slaughtered, Kumal earns the monicker "Man Eater".
  • Sailor Fuku: Raoul wears a period male version
  • Shoot the Dog: McRory kills the father of Kumal and Sangha after he attacks and fatally wounds one of his men, who in turn was about to shoot one of the cubs. McRory later goes hunting for Kumal and Sangha because he believes that having been raised by humans will turn them into man-eaters after they escape to the wild.
  • Sleazy Politician: Both the headman of the Cambodian village and Normandin, the French administrator.
  • Time Skip: The movie jumps one year in the middle part.
  • Tropey, Come Home: Both played straight and inverted, depending on your point of view. From the point of view of Raoul and McRory, they let their tigers go instead of getting them back. From the point of view of the tigers' mother, she gets her offspring back.
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy: His Excellency is often compared to his father, who was a great man of his time and had many qualities. The son, however, didn't seem to inherit any of those qualities and he is quite upset about that.