The complex emotions within families have always intrigued me. Years ago, when I was a teacher, it would only take me a few days before I reckoned that I could tell whether the children in my class had brothers or sisters and whether their siblings were older or younger than they were. And I was even quicker at spotting an ‘only child’. I believe the relationships we form with our siblings and our parents do more than anything else to shape our personalities.
But that actually wasn’t the starting point of ‘Brothers of War’ for me.
I have lived into my late fifties having never been involved in a war and I have often wondered how I would have reacted in battle. Outnumbered, would I have turned and run, or would I have stood my ground and fought? Would I have given up the names of my fellow conspirators under the duress of torture? Or would I – could I – have been the torturer? War produces the very best and the very worst in people and it’s impossible to know or understand the character-shaping consequence of extreme conflict. And for that very reason, war makes a great backdrop for any film.
But war wasn’t the starting point of ‘Brothers of War’ either.
I’m no mathematician; I have always been drawn to the Arts above the Sciences. But I am obsessed with ‘chance’ and ‘probability’. As a young child I would be forever playing with a set of dice, fascinated by the probability of different combinations. There is a moment in ‘Brothers of War’ when Jake spins the barrel of a revolver for a second time and claims: ‘The odds don’t change, do they? It’s always one in six’. That was both the starting image and the initial concept which triggered ‘Brothers of War’. The rest is the most extraordinary journey of my life.