Refreshingly, 'Brothers of the Head' is the kind of film that will make you think about lots of things. It tells the compelling story of conjoined twins Barry (Luke Treadaway) and Tom Howe (Barry Treadaway) - rock stars with volatile personalities and extremely talented young men, but mostly just two brothers - desperately clinging to each other in a world that doesn't understand them.
Shot in documentary style, complete with retrospective interviews, this gritty 1970s-set film draws you in from the get-go. It contrasts sharply the very bleak existence of the teenage boys on the moors of L'Estrange Head with their new life as rock stars of the manor at Humbleden Hall, after their father sells them to music mogul Zak Bedderwick (Attfield) in the misguided hope that they can have a better life than he could provide for them.
The docu-film paints a picture of two young men being taken advantage of and used in some way by almost everyone around them. Yet they struggle on together in the hope of gaining that elusive upper hand. At times it is difficult to watch. You feel sympathy for Barry as his mind falters following constant substance abuse, and perhaps even more for the quieter Tom, whose fate is largely determined by his brother's lifestyle choices. Throughout their passionate (almost obsessive) love for each other is never in doubt, but their relationships with other people are often tricky affairs, as with encouraging music coach Paul Day (Dick) and narky manager Nick Sidney (Harris). And things are further complicated when sneaky journalist Laura Ashworth (Emery) becomes infatuated with Tom. She allegedly decides to check out the possibility of separating the twins, behind their backs and absolutely against their wishes.
With the music and fashion of the 1970s making a come-back, it is fitting that the movie should be released now, hopefully to an audience that will appreciate its flair as it delves into the not-so-glamorous world of rock'n'roll. The Treadaway twins are the epitome of fame-hungry rockers, as they assuredly strut their stuff in their skinny jeans and excessive eye make-up. Their closeness as brothers is always convincing, as they exude very real emotion in releasing their frustrations and dreams through their writings, art and music. On top of that the soundtrack is electric as it switches from eerie background music of the wide moors to the edgy, punk/rock of the club-scene of the day, with hits like 'Two-Way Romeo' provided by the twins' band The Bang Bang.
'Brothers of the Head' is a mish-mash of genres, from rockumentary to horror. At times it is a lively homage to an (imaginary) up-and-coming band. At other junctures it is a frightening look into a very dark mind, complete with flashbacks and/or hallucinations, one of which involves the disturbing growth of a third person on one of the twins.
A fascinating and slightly addictive portrayal of love, self-destruction and diversity, 'Brothers of the Head' will tug at the heart strings but also leave you feeling strangely uplifted at its close, despite its often bleak outlook.