Directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud, starring Guy Pearce, Freddie Highmore, Jean-Claude Dreyfus, Oanh Nguyen and Bernard Falvin.

'Two Brothers' is directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud, who had major global success in the late 1980s with his film 'The Bear'. 15 years later and he is back working with animals, only this time the creatures he has chosen to deal with are tigers.

The film is a tale of two young tiger cubs, Kumal and Sangha, who are separated when their father is killed by adventurer Aidan McRory (Guy Pearce). McRory then takes Kumal under his wing but eventually the little fella ends up in a travelling circus where his fighting spirit is crushed. Meanwhile, Sangha becomes a pet to Raoul (Highmore), the son of the local administrator. However, after lashing out at the family dog, he is offered to the royal prince's menagerie, where he is trained to be a vicious fighter. Then, over a year later, the two siblings are brought face to face in the fighting ring. Will they recognise each other after all that time?

Annaud has done a superb job with this film, and the fact that he used 30 different tigers during filming is amazing, given the seamless transition of the animals through the movie. The human characters undoubtedly play second-fiddle to the tigers. Nevertheless, Pearce gives a credible performance as the ancient-statue hunting adventurer. Well, at least as well as his material allows him. It was shot mostly in Cambodia and is probably worth viewing for the captivating scenery alone.

Although it's a family flick there is a message behind the film, as the director is obviously trying to highlight the plight of these tigers. Although the moral message is important, it isn't taken to an over-bearing point. Credit to all involved because they have made what could have been a difficult movie to watch rest easily on the eye.

Séamus Leonard