Brothers in arms…but only one Affleck continues to impress.

When it comes to the gene pool it’s easy to establish which sibling is the Olympic swimmer and which one is left cleaning the chlorine stained cracks. How about Kevin Bacon, his questionable face and superb acting choices make him a standout performer for his generation. Not too sure about the musicianship of brother Michael though. Need more proof? Take David Arquette or the Baldwins. Do you think Stephen is first on Alec’s Christmas dinner invitation list? Nobody takes the biscuit quite like the Affleck’s, though.

Benjamin Geza Affleck-Boldt burst onto the scene back in 1997 with Good Will Hunting, making his uncharacteristic features omnipresent for the subsequent decade. But you can trace his acting career with a simple linear graph – pre his breakthrough he gave us Dazed and Confused and Mallrats (not bad going, Ben), post chumming up with Matt Damon we got Bounce, Pearl Harbour and Gigli. Sure there’s the odd Changing Lanes but interesting roles have eluded Ben’s blankness for quite some time now.

Meanwhile, brother Casey has been bubbling under for quite some time. Barely one line of dialogue but he still ate the awesome scenery up in Gerry and went on to do so much more. With melancholic mirth in Lonesome Jim and quiet menace in The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford Casey, Casey well and truly put his big bro to shame, and recent projects suggest that Casey’s cult status will continue.

Michael Winterbottom’s The Killer Inside Me may have flopped but even after socking sassy women he came out shining.

Now he’s chosen to direct in extraordinary fashion. I’m Still Here is a documentary (or blatant mockumentary considering they’re mates) of Joaquin Phoenix’s rather spectacular fall from grace. We all know beardy man lost the plot, quit his day job and announced he would rap for cash, and now we have the pleasure of watching his erratic journey as Casey’s cameras captured it all, every last human dump on top of the aforementioned actor, if reports are to be trusted. Add to that male nudity, cocaine, call girls and oral sex with publicists and you’ve got yourself the coolest film in Hollywood. Only a sex scandal involving an on-set female producer would align the Affleck’s once more.

So perhaps we are finally moving towards balance in our intake of Affleck’s; parity restored as they move behind the camera. Ben’s Gone Baby Gone a critical success, his next movie, The Town, looks to follow suit. A gritty Boston crime-caper starring Mad Men’s Jon Hamm promises much and what’s next for Casey after exposing Phoenix’s genitals? Who’s to say, but there’s never a dull moment with these two, apart from Jersey Girl, Forces of Nature, Oceans Twe

By Ian Roebuck

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Originally published in issue 21 (vol 3) of Loud And Quiet. September 2010