Based on Patrick deWitt’s novel of the same name, The Sisters Brothers blends elements of an 1850s period film, namely hazard-laden brothels and violent gun-slinging, with an introspective look into machoism, all highlighted by a superb score courtesy of Alexandre Desplat. Operating under instruction of a mysterious kingpin, the story follows two assassins, ruffian drunk Charlie Sisters (Joaquin Phoenix) and his more uneasy brother, Eli (John C. Reilly) as they search for Hermann Kermit Warm, a scientist inventing novel technologies to find gold in the height of the California gold rush. Meanwhile, the fugitive chemist (Riz Ahmed) finds solace in detective John Morris. Morris, played by Jake Gyllenhaal, provides the film with a much-desired softness (and yet another of Gyllenhaal’s intriguing accents). Though susceptible to the weariness of endless bloodshed, French filmmaker Jacques Audiard’s English debut boasts sharp-tongued dialogue and a humanist approach to men’s psyches, whether they be the hunter or the hunted. The Sisters Brothers indulges in all the usual tropes of the western but saves itself with sincere, almost sweet, moments of brotherhood and heart.