SXSW Exclusive: Darkness From Down Under: Brothers' Nest (2018) Reviewed

Clayton Jacobson
Clayton Jacobson's Brothers' Nest premiered at SXSW. Here are our early impressions of the film. 

When a calculated plan starts to go south, can two brothers survive the night? Brothers' Nest is here to take us on a chaotic ride that proves crime films are not dead, but are thriving in a new but familiar way. 

For years it's been apparent. Australian filmmakers just get it right. Their movies have a certain realism that can sink sharp hooks into the most jaded filmgoer. From the first few moments, this latest project from down under goes for the kill with perfected pacing, smart character development, and a dimly lit noir tone that's balanced by gradient set design and claustrophobic environments. 

Premiering at SXSW, Brothers' Nest takes long strides to set up the future directorial career of Clayton Jacobson as he makes the major transition from short films and tv work to the cinematic world that's in desperate need of his talents. Having released one other feature in 2006 called Kenny, Jacobson takes a leap of faith that brings him to the next level. Peeking around at other early reviews, his work seems to have hit a nerve, giving his captive audience something they were looking for: an atmospheric study in brotherly dissonance with criminal sensibilities that are rooted in our violent world. 

brothers nest
Brother #1: "Did you build the nest yet?"
Brother #2: "No. I was too busy putting these awesome outfits together."

Brandishing a hyper authenticity that brings a natural dialogue and fluidity to the screen, two real life brothers transpose their personal dynamic to a script that's the launching pad for one of the early gems of 2018. When the duo hatches a plan for murder, things go awry, causing mayhem, destruction, and moments of pure tension that are highlighted by their talents at playing off one another. The interplay between the two stars, Clayton and Shane is palpable. Their relationship transitions to the screen with ease, even if all intentions here aren't good. 

Seething with grit, dark humor, and a brotherhood that's rooted in a twisted love, Brothers' Nest was quite possibly the best thriller out of the festival this year. Resting on a story that hinges on a Coen Brothers-esque story of greed and familial dramatics, Clayton Jacobson's piece of modern murder is a visceral and stunning second full length effort from a man that couldn't be any more endearing and real. Talking to him for a few brief moments after the final SXSW screening, Jacobson proved he's not just a director but is also a film fan that wants to give people something special. With Brothers' Nest, he one hundred percent delivers a call back to a time when movies pushed beyond expected tropes and plot points. 

This is the film I'm most excited about coming off the festival. While we got to see numerous others including some that bear the markers of a similar genre, this one had the most heart. If you've ever been a fan of the modern thriller, Brothers' Nest comes highly recommended. When this gets a release in May, TMS suggests this as a must see.