Brother's War (2009)




Director:     Jerry Buteyn.

Starring:     Tino Struckmann (Capt. Klaus Mueller), Michael Berryman (Col. Petrov), Olivier Gruner (Anton), Hayley Carr (Anna), Hugh Daly (Maj. Andrew Pearman), Jack Dimich (NKVD Officer), Adam Leadbeater (Lt. Ivanov), Tye Olson (Emil), Steve Holm (Friedrich), Dylan Kenin (Gestapo Officer), Boris Kievsky (Sergie), Time Winters (Zindrowski), Joshua Minnick (German Prisoner #2), Andreas T. Ramani (German Prisoner #1), Mark Doerr (German Sergeant).

toward the end of the war, a British major finds out about Stalin's idea to occupy East Europe permanently; the Russians try to kill him; he joins forces with a German officer and do their best to stay alive



Spoiler Warning:  below is a summary of the entire film.

A man walks in the woods. He sits by a stream and hears the sounds of war.

Flashback. The Germans are fighting against the Russians on the Russian front. The Russian officers seem sure of victory. One officer says: "They'll break and then they'll run."

Polish-German Border, Spring 1945. The situation looks bad for the Germans as they can get no more ammunition supplies for the time being and there are no reserves they can count on.

The Russians attack and start to overrun the German lines. A German soldiers prepares to kill a Russian until the person's helmet falls off revealing that she is a woman. He lets her get away.

A British officer serving as an observer to the Russians doesn't think the Russians are using very good strategy. He says that in the West they haven't used direct frontal attacks on entrenched positions since 1918.

The German officer wants to knock out a tank. He gathers grenades from his men and ties them together. He then calls for Anton. He tells him to take out that Russian tank. Anton throws the grenades on the back of the tank, but the explosions do not take out the tank.

The German who let the Russian woman go, gets tied down by a sniper. The German officer sees the situation and sneaks around on the sniper. He gets very close to the sniper and then kills him.

The two men start walking back but are set upon by a group of Russian soldiers. The two Germans are saved by the arrival of a German tank. Back with his soldiers the German officer gives the order for most of them to retreat.

The officer talks to a very young soldier named Emil. He tells the young artilleryman that they are very low on ammunition so he must save the shells he has for the tanks. And each shot must be a kill. Emil says he will do his best.

The Russians tell the British observer that they will show him the battle plans for tomorrow, but they have no such intention. They just try to keep him busy so he can't get to the plans, which are now at the battle field anyway.

A Gestapo man named Breizi comes to talk to Captain Mueller. The lieutenant says he hasn't seen him for quite a while. He sends Breizi over to look at some corpses, but the captain is not among them. Then the lieutenant tells Breizi to go check at the field hospital. Breizi resents the lieutenant's attitude and he says he will go check at the field hospital, but then he will be back here.

A group of Polish government representatives wonder when they will be allowed to rejoin their government? The Russian officer Col. Petrov says that this will happen today. And what about their two colleagues who went to the Russian field hospital? The officer repeats that they will be reunited today.

The Russians starts putting the diplomats on the back of one of their trucks. The British officer is not supposed to see this, but the officer spots what's going on and asks where are they taking these men? A Russian soldier with him just tells him to follow him, but, instead, the British officer jumps into a jeep to follow the truck.

The leader sees the British major heading out in the jeep and demands that they go after him and bring him back. The leaders then slaps the soldier supposedly guarding the major.

The German lieutenant tells soldier Freidrich to come with him to see if they can find out if the Russians plan to attack tonight. He then tells his brother that, if Breizi comes back, tell him the lieutenant went to check on the Russian plans.

The lieutenant and Friedrich start moving toward the Russian lines. They see a truck loaded with civilian men coming down the trail. The lieutenant says they will try and find out where the truck is going.

And along comes the British major. He parks the jeep and goes to see what the Russians are going to do to the diplomats. It sure looks like the Russians are up to no good. They are probably going to kill the civilians. Everybody is given a gulp of vodka.

The two Germans find the major's jeep. They then move ahead toward the voices they hear. Friedrich wants to throw a grenade into the bunch of them, but the lieutenant wants to first know who are these civilians?

Now Russians soldiers arrive in a truck along with their leader. They find the major's jeep and start running forward to find him.

Another truck backs up to the group of men. Undoubtedly, there's a machine ready to be fired into the men. And, sure enough, the back flap on the truck goes down and the killing begins with the machine gun. Then Col. Petrov goes around shooting the men in the head to make sure they are dead.

The men looking for the Englishman now tell Col. Petrov that the Englishman got away, but he's around these woods somewhere. The officer screams at the men to find the Englishman immediately.

The major heads back to his jeep, but he sees two Russian guards and the Russian truck behind his jeep. He throws a stone to one side and the guards go to check out the noise. Then he sneaks around the truck, gets in the jeep and takes off.

Friedrich wants to know what the hell is going on here? The lieutenant says he doesn't know, but they've got to get out of here now. They start leaving. The Russians see them and start shooting at them.

The Soviet woman catches up with Friedrich and is about to kill him when she realizes it's the man who spared her life. She doesn't shoot. Friedrich thinks about it for a second, but then opens up on her with an automatic weapon. She hits the ground with a thud. This gives another Russian time enough to catch up with Friedrich and he shoots Friedrich twice. Friedrich falls to the ground. The lieutenant is tempted to check on Friedrich, but the Russians are too close. He runs for his life.

The lieutenant runs across the road but runs right into the major and his jeep. Both men are shocked to see each other. The lieutenant resumes his running and the Russians catch up with the major.

The Gestapo fellow returns to talk to the lieutenant's brother. He says the field hospital has not seen the captain for some weeks now. So he asks again where is the captain? He doesn't get a helpful response from the brother, so he says that he has been looking for the unit of traitors and now he has found it.

So Gestapo man tells his assistant soldier to shoot just one of the soldiers in the unit. So one Russian soldier is killed. The lieutenant hears the shot as he comes through the woods. He comes upon the group and watches as the Gestapo man then kills his brother. The lieutenant then opens up on the Gestapo man and his assistant. He mows them both down with his automatic weapon.

The lieutenant hears some noise behind him, turns around and gets rifle-butted right in the face by a Russian soldier. Lt. Mueller goes down.

The Russian military leader now questions the English major. The major says he just witnessed the Russians murder legitimate members of the Polish government. The leader sarcastically says that it's a shame that the British will never learn of the incident. (Obviously, implying that the major will be executed too.)

The German lieutenant is held in a jail cell. There are other German soldiers in there with him. The British major is also in the cell but he's not talking.

The Russians take out one of the soldiers and execute him with a pistol shot to the head. Then they come and grab the lieutenant. They rough up the lieutenant but then throw him back in his cell. They grab another German soldiers and execute him.

And again they grab another German soldier. He is executed.

Now the last three German soldiers are brought up out of the cell. Col. Petrov shoots both soldiers on either side of the lieutenant. He is sent back to his cell.

The Russian bruiser, the jailer, comes down by himself to get the lieutenant and does he get a surprise. The lieutenant gets his arms free and knocks the tough guy down. He then makes a break for freedom.

An alarm is soon sounded and the hunt begins. The lieutenant overpowers a guard, but he is caught soon after that when a bullet hits the wall near him. He is taken back to his cell.

Officer Ivanov is given command of the lieutenant. He, the tough guy and a Russian soldier come to the lieutenant's cell to get him. They also take the British major with them. The two prisoners are put in a truck to be taken away.

When the truck is reaching its destination, the lieutenant motions to the major that they will take the two guards out. And as the truck stops, the two officers overpower the guards. The major is able to grab a rifle and starts shooting.

Ivanov starts coming at the prisoners firing his pistol but it soon jams. The two prisoners now run into the woods. The lieutenant grabs the rifle from the major and knocks off two or three Russian soldiers.

The Russian leader slaps Col. Petrov. He then says that Stalin does not trust the other Allies and he is taking steps to protect a good Russian future. If the Allies find out about Stalin's plans, they just may decide to side with the Germans against the Russians. They can't let that happen. Col. Perov grabs his pistol and kills Ivanov.

The leaders now tells Col. Petrov to find that major or the officer and his family will find themselves living in Siberia.

Col. Petrov gets a group of men and goes after the two escapees. They figure the two men are headed down into the valley.

The two escapees are hampered by their distrust of each other. While they argue about trust, the Russians appear on the scene. The two escapees drop to the ground. The major grabs the rifle from the lieutenant saying he's going to shoot Col. Petrov. Given that they have only one bullet left, the lieutenant says hen what about all the other soldiers with the officer? The major listens to reason and lets go of the rifle. He now tells the lieutenant that his name is Andrew. The lieutenant says that his name is Klaus. And Klaus wants to know why are the Russian trying to kill Andrew? The major says the Russians are bastards, hardly news to the lieutenant who has been fighting them for four years.

The men start getting into another argument over what are the reasons for the Russians wanting to kill each of them. Again distrust raises its ugly head. They must have raised their voices too loudly because a Russian soldier shoots at them, but misses. The major shoots the Russian soldier and he goes down. The lieutenant grabs the dead man's rifle and prepares for the arrival of more Russians. Another one does arrive and he is killed by the lieutenant.

A third Russian arrives and is dispatched. Another Russians tries to kill the lieutenant with his bayonet. The lieutenant overpowers the man and sticks him with his own bayonet.
The major goes to check on the man and the fellow almost kills him, but the lieutenant shoots the Russian.

Col. Petrov now arrives and nicks the lieutenant. The lieutenant tells the major to go right, while he will go left. They make the move but the Russian officer knocks the lieutenant down. He is about to shoot the lieutenant, when the major shoots the Russian officer.

Now that the two men can relax for awhile, Klaus wants to know from Andrew who were those men killed by the Russians? Andrew says that Stalin has had the entire Polish government-in-exile killed. Stalin plans to occupy both Poland and Germany after the war.

This shocks Klaus a bit and he tells his friend that they have to get Andrew back to tell the story of what are Russia's future plans. Klaus next asks how far have the Russians gotten toward Germany? Andrew tells him the Russians crossed the German border three days ago.

The two men move on through the forest. They see three Russians chasing after a pretty Polish woman in the woods. They take her to a barn to rape her. Our two heroes are going to put a stop to that.

They kill a guard and move into the barn and kill the other men. Now the men tell the woman their nationalities and this confuses her a bit. The lieutenant now reveals that he is Captain Mueller, the one for which the Gestapo is looking. She says her name is Anna.

The men decide not to take Anna with them. Klaus tells Anna they are moving west while she is going east, but she very definitely tells them that she is going with them and that's that.

Anna tells Andrew that she worked in Britain as a nurse in 1937. Andrew thinks she's German because she is coming with them west. She has to tell him that no, she is Polish. They all now are dressed in German uniforms. They get into a German truck and head back to Germany.

They reach the German lines and the guard there was one of the captain's men. The guard tells his captain that they have a lot of wounded men who need attention. Anna immediately offers her services as a nurse. The men want to go on, but Anna shames them into staying.

The two men help Anna at her job. She needs help with a man who is bleeding to death. The man turns out to be the boy Emil. He cannot be saved and dies on his cot. This greatly upsets the captain.

The guard, a sergeant, asks the captain what are their orders? The captain tells him very plainly that the Russians are coming and there is nothing the Germans can do to stop them. His orders are to take his men and return to their homes in Germany. The sergeant gives him the Hitler salute, but the captain looks at him disapprovingly. Klaus gives him a regular salute and the sergeant switches over with the officer to the new, but old, salute.

The wounded are loaded up in the back of the truck and the captain drives off with them. Klaus reaches a German doctor, but all he can say is that he can only offer the wounded a place to die in peace. He is totally overwhelmed by the number of dead and dying on his hands. He also tells Klaus that the Russians have surrounded Berlin. "It's all lost."

Two Gestapo officers start looking over the walking wounded. They find one who they say is a coward and a traitor. Anna protests that he is a patient under her care. The senior officer shoots the soldier in the head.

The Gestapo executioner now focuses in on Andrew. Klaus steps up to say that this man is under his care. The Gestapo officer says and now the man is under his care. A German soldier starts to run and the second Gestapo officer goes to shoot him in the back, but Klaus knocks him out cold with a blow to the head. Now the senior Gestapo man comes over to say that Klaus is under arrest. Klaus knocks the man down on the ground. Then Klaus tells him he will give him a choice. He can be shot now in the head or he can take a chance and run for it and risk getting a bullet in the back. The officer chooses to run for it. Klaus does not shoot the Gestapo officer.

Russian planes are bombing the area. Everyone tries to get into the shelter. Anna starts losing it because she sees so many men bleeding to death. Klaus comes up to her and tells her to be calm. Her panicking will only make things worse for the men. He tells her she must act as if there is hope for the dying here. Anna calms down.

The news on the radio is that the Russians and Allied Forces had met up with each other. Now Germany is completely divided. The people of different nationalities in the shelter start sharing what food they have with each other.

The three move on together to get to the Allied lines. They come across German soldiers hung for treason. At first, Klaus wants to just pass by them, but the other two insist that they take the bodies down.

They come across a large group of dead German soldiers, all very young or old. Klaus says they were fools but Anna says they were just frightened and gathered together as is natural when people are scared. Of course, the gathering together made them easy targets for the Russians.

Bombs start dropping around the three. Klaus throws his body over Anna's. They kiss.

The three keep moving. They start coming upon the sounds of war but don't know their nationality. Klaus figures out that one gun sound is German and Andrew figures out that the other gun sound is American.

Klaus is very willing to give himself up to the Americans. The Americans start moving up and the Germans open up on them. The Americans with their greater firepower win the skirmish. The Americans start advancing and Andrew yells out that he's a British Major with an important message for Field Marshal Montgomery.

The American officer tells his men to hold their fire. The major prepares to start moving toward the Americans with his hands in the air. All of a sudden a bullet hits the major and he goes down. The American officer is really pissed and wants to know who fired that shot?

It turns out to be Col. Petrov. The American officer decides to do nothing about it since the killer is a Russian military officer.

Andrew dies and Klaus is taken away to a prisoner of war camp.

Klaus gets to tells his full report to the Americans. The American officer thanks him for his report. He tells his men to make sure the captain gets a good meal and a hot shower.

A British officer heard the report along with the Americans. He says he is going to make a full report of what was said to the British Prime Minister. The American, however, says that they are going to bury the report. "The last thing we want to do is open a front with the Russians."

Anna sees Klaus escorted by an American guard to a jeep. Neither one of the people say anything to the other.

Back to the present. Klaus takes out the mementoes he kept of Andrew and Anna. He places them on top of a large rock and walks away from them.


  Patrick Louis Cooney, Ph. D.



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