Couldn't be more of a Roger Corman picture if it was. The Brother From is connected to the Corms tangentially (John Sayles screenwrote a number of drive-in classics and still script-doctors today), but it has all the trappings of a Attack of the Crab Monsters, a Deathrace 2000, or a The Wild Angels. Trappings like: understated yet wholly present socio-political commentary, cheap (read: nonexistent) special effects, undeniably great supporting cast (nothing but "that guy!"s), and burgeoning auteurs.
But get this: Sayles had three movies under his belt by this time. And all of his movies (save for the Roan Inish) are extraordinarily terrestrial -- characters so real they live next door and dialogue the entire time. Yet the Brother is a three-toed mute from the outer regions of this galaxy who finds himself adrift in Harlem with only the power to heal Burger Time machines and owies. It's as if the years behind a desk penning werewolf stories, 'gator scripts, and space operas caught up to Big John and he just had to make one himself. Once it left his system he was back to real estate development and hot bloggin'. Perhaps the world is a better place. You remember how we heaped praise on Limbo, but this one here fell a little short of our Sayles expectations. Quirky and interesting, but not really a success. At least not in the same way.
Still, this movie does its best to remained focused about immigration and xeno-relations (no, no, not Xenu-relations! Shit, don't click that link -- they might shut me down!), but we got a huge kick out of Sayles and Strathairn playing a pair of intergalactic men in black. You will never ever see Straths in something like this. So fucking camped out and classic. This pair in these roles is Jack in the dentist's chair, people. They order beer on the rocks, screech like banshees, and slink around the bar. I also dug how the Brother's silence made him something different to everyone. And also how he found a shoe in the trash. And popped out his eyeball. And boned that happenin' lady. This Joe Morton's a real actor I tell ya.
Keep your eyes peeled for the late Steve James, Josh Mostel, and Fisher Stevens. And this guy, who you'll recognize right off the bat but you won't know from where!