Director Scott Hicks, famed for helming films like SHINE and HEARTS IN ATLANTIS, is no stranger to very human stories and this is definitely a drama with heart. The story of a man dealing with the loss of his wife and having to raise his children alone isnít new territory and definitely open to a lot of melodrama and manipulative emotional content, but Hicks thankfully steers things away from anything too sappy or overly sentimental. In fact Iíd say that THE BOYS ARE BACK is less about the death of a spouse, and more of a story about moving on with life. Tonally, itís surprisingly light and funny in spots, punctuated with a few serious scenes, and this is where Clive Owen comes to play.
Owenís character wears his flaws as a parent on his sleeve, but is still likable becauseÖwell, because heís Clive Owen. Heís self-serving but self-aware, and even though heís kind of a crappy on-the-fly dad, heís still relatable. The kind of charm Owenís famous for definitely helps the character. Heís also aided by the child actors, who give good performances and thankfully arenít annoying. As I mentioned before, the story isnít really anything we havenít seen before, and the end kind of fizzles out without a whole lot of conflict (especially the semi-romantic subplot, which I donít think ever gets resolved), but itís still a good little film.
The movieís soundtrack also deserves a big mention for itís use of Icelandic band Sigur Ros, whose haunting, ethereal sound is perfect for the tone and story of the film. Theyíve been used effectively in other films, but this one feels like a perfect match.
A Father and Two Sons, On Set (1:44): A quick look at the day author Simon Carr visited the set with his two sons, a fitting parallel to the filmís story.
Extra Tidbit: This was the final film released by Miramax Pictures before they shut down.