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Brothers of the Head

Close Encounters of the Conjoined Kind

There’s a certain artist that relies less on talent and more on image and gimmickry to draw a crowd. Some of the more notable artists who fall into said category (arguably) include: Marilyn Manson, who works the gothic freak angle. Ozzie Osbourne, bit the heads off of bats (and birds unfortunate enough to run afoul of him), but in Keith Fulton and Louis Pepe’s Brothers of the Head we get the ultimate gimmick with the freakish Siamese twins, Tom and Barry Howe fronting a 70s punk rock band, "The Bang Bang".

Seemingly amalgamating Spinal Tap and Velvet Goldmine, Brothers of the Head follows the story of conjoined twin brothers (aka siamese twins) who are plucked from complete obscurity by a music producer and become rock stars rivaling The Rolling Stones. Brothers of the Head could be characterized as a dark comedy, but it’s more of the former and less of the latter.

Fame as always complicates things and while Tom and Barry are close, both literally and figuratively, it becomes apparent that the two are perhaps more different than they are the same. Harry and Luke Treadaway do an excellent job portraying the two halves of the tormented, but talented twins. The Treadaways do a convincing job of transforming from isolated naives to jaded punk stars.

Complicating an already complex dynamic is the introduction of journalist Laura Ashworth (Tania Emery) into the mix. Intrigue and curiosity quickly evolves into carnal knowledge of the conjoined kind. Emery does a solid job of conveying a mix of intrigue and lust with a subtle glance.

One can’t review a film like Brothers of the Head without talking about the soundtrack. It’s pretty much non-stop, English punk. Influenced by The Kinks, The Stooges, the Sex Pistols, and the New York Dolls; Brothers of the Head own music brings a sound that is appropriately pissed off and aggressive. If punk rock is your thing, you could do much worse than Brothers of the Head.

Co-directors Keith Fulton and Louis Pepe have crafted a convincing "mockumentary" that covers familiar terrain (the ascent and debauched unraveling of a rock band), but does so in a flavor that is decidedly unique, fascinating, and intimate. Fame can be a bitch, but it’s doubly so when you’re a conjoined twin.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars