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DNKraljacic - Dex

Comments on some recent movies that are not widely available... from the standpoint of a filmmaker, screenwriting professor, and a film critic and scholar.

Dejan Nikolaj Kraljacic is a regular contributor


BROTHERS' NEST , a top-notch Aussie movie


Canadian premiere at Fantasia International Film Festival, Montreal, 2018,

BROTHERS' NEST (Australia, 2018, 99 min) 

directed by: Clayton Jacobson; written by: Jaime Browne, Chris Pahlow (additional material); cast: Shane Jacobson, Clayton Jacobson, Kim Gyngell, Lynette Curran, Sarah Snook.

Clayton Jacobson's Brothers' Nest is a highly sophisticated, meticulously guided family drama masterfully disguised as a black comedy, a piece I would place without exaggeration into the very top of Australian cinema in general. The movie was immediately recognized by some film critics as a reminiscence of the best Coens' work, although the Coen brothers, in their misanthropy, are not inclined very much to the classic narrative structure which implies the most difficult task in storytelling - carefully developed characters and the story that springs out of a genuine conflict; their endeavor to elevate genre is not in order to question our human nature, but rather to cynically mock their foolish, shallow characters, offering only catchy style, the surface, not the depth. And all of this is certainly not the case with this accomplishment. On the contrary!

Above of all, Brother's Nest is skillfully written by Jaime Browne (already recognized in Hollywood as one of the most exciting, emerging Aussie writers) in collaboration with Chris Pahlow, based on early drafts of Jacobson. Further, the quality of the script is amplified by the two lead superb performances, Shane Jakobson and Clayton, the director himself (btw. brothers in real life), and supported by crafty camera work, editing and sound design. This is a masterclass showing how you can get plenty on a tight budget (if you know your craft, of course!); the entire action takes place in and around only one isolated house - a ranch in a prairie, while the story involves two main characters and three episodic, respectively... and a beautiful horse.

In the first half of the Nest, the two brothers opposite in their character (older is determined and organized, younger submissive and insecure) arrive early in the morning to their mother’s empty house, aiming to well prepare - rehearse the murder of their stepfather in order to obtain heritage, as their mother is in the final phase of battle with cancer. Just before the initial situation seems to evolve into a form of a witty transposition of Beckett's Waiting for Godot, thus frightening the audience with a notion that they are watching a chamber absurd comedy and nothing more (the Coen Brothers territory), the stepfather appears and turns the second part of the story in the direction of a dysfunctional family tragedy of Shakespearean proportions.

Finally, this genuine delicate and subtle piece of work, very efficient yet full of details, easily captures and holds attention throughout the whole movie with its cleverness and maturity. This superior piece of filmmaking is even more remarkable if one bares in mind that Jacobson (who also convincingly portrayed a demanding role) made so far only one feature film, a documentary-style comedy Kenny (2006).

Simply brilliant!


Clayton & Shane Jacobson, the brothers


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About DNKraljacic - Dex

Kraljacic Dejan Nikolaj

Dex wrote, directed and produced almost a dozen shorts and documentaries, including award-winning pieces (such as a short Balkan Blues and documentary Shattered Dreams) since the mid-1990s.

Co-wrote the Huddersfield feature film that was awarded for best screenplay of the year in Serbia (2007). Since the late 1990s, have been working in the advertising field, was a film program director, cinema books publisher, staged an original comedy in theatre, and dealt with film criticism (a member of FIPRESCI). An associate professor of screenwriting at Academy of Arts University of Novi Sad, Serbia, a Raindance / Staffordshire University postgraduate degree film program mentor (UK/Canada - worldwide (online)). Holds a Ph.D. in film studies. Very fond of comic books.

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