Brothers face off in inept war story
A risible misfire of a contemporary war drama, the low-budget “Unfallen” stands as an epic fail on all fronts.
The ham-fisted saga, codirected by Josh Hodgins and the single-named Dante, begins in early ’90s Tajikistan (courtesy of Washington state), where a pair of 7-year-old twin brothers are left orphaned by civil war, resulting in one of them being adopted by a Denver couple.
Fast-forward a decade, with grown-up, stone-faced Rustam (the film’s writer, James Nasimi) joining the U.S. Army and shipping off to Afghanistan, where he ultimately comes up against his long-lost Talibantrained brother, Suhrob (also Nasimi), discovering that the two still share fundamentals aside from a pair of ridiculous beards.
Only slightly more convincing are the wobbly Middle Eastern accents that keep surrendering to their obvious American origins and the scenes with Michael Madsen as a corrupt U.S. general, which appear to have been air-dropped into the production at a later time and place.
Madsen’s understandable desire to get in and out of this technically inept mess as expediently as possible is evidently shared by James Hong (the affectionately irascible voice of Mr. Ping in the “Kung Fu Panda” movies), whose similarly top-billed presence amounts to mere minutes seated behind a desk.
Hopefully his chair was more comfortable than the film’s painfully wooden dialogue.
“Unfallen.” Not rated. Running time: 1 hour, 37 minutes. Playing: Arena Cinelounge Sunset, Hollywood.
DANTE, left, Ryan Poole and Michael Madsen in a drama in which twin brothers turn enemies.