Brother Number One

Brother Number One

Director: Annie Goldson

Brother Number One is a New Zealand documentary which follows former Olympic athlete Rob Hamill as he journeys to Cambodia to testify against the man responsible for the torture and killing of his brother, over thirty years ago.

Robís brother Kerry disappeared in 1978 while sailing towards Asia on his yacht with two others. It was some time before the Hamill family learned that he had been captured and executed by the Khmer Rouge. Robís journey to the last place that Kerry was alive is interwoven with the history of the regimeís rule in Cambodia and the way that it impacted on the country and its people. It presents the story on a global level, as well as a personal one, told from Robís point of view. The mix of courtroom scenes, re-enactment, real life footage and photographs makes this documentary honest and authentic and its main character inspiring.

You donít need to be familiar with Pol Pot or his regimes to enjoy this documentary, but it definitely is not a movie for anyone looking for light entertainment. The film was emotionally draining and often haunting, including graphic pictures of prisoners who underwent violent torture and eventually death. The stories that surface during the 99-minute film are nothing short of horrific, and worldview-altering, but it is a film well worth watching.

Anyone wanting a film that expands their view of the world and the human condition should watch this. Whether you are interested in the past, Cambodia, New Zealand or just humanity in general, this film will deliver. Few documentaries present such an informative history with a human interest focus that is as sincere as this one. I would recommend that anyone with a soft side brings their tissue box.

Taryn Dryfhout
This article first appeared in Issue 5, 2012.
Posted 4:26pm Sunday 25th March 2012 by Taryn Dryfhout.