Brotherly Lies is a 10-episode web series from Diamond in the Rough Films that is currently airing on the Fearless Streaming Network.
It was written and directed by Mark Schwab who also has a starring role in the series. The action of this drama, which is part mystery and part love story, takes place over two days in a secluded mansion in Northern California.
The story centers around Lex (Pano Tsaklas) who has been staying at his family’s mansion for a few months following a suicide attempt. His best friend Kenny (Jose Fernando) has been staying with him offering emotional support while simultaneously avoiding his controlling husband. Shane (Jacob Betts), a struggling screenwriter, has been renting out the guesthouse during the summer while trying to complete work on a script about his father. Harry (Mark Schwab), their neighbor, has become a close friend of the group but has an extra special bond with Lex whom he emotionally brought back to life that past winter despite grieving his own husband who died three years prior. The equilibrium that these four gay men established is seemingly turned on its head by the arrival of David (Robert Sean Campbell), Lex’s famous older brother, and his fiancé Laura (Casey Semple).
With summer drawing to a close, David decides to throw an impromptu gathering, complete with ecstasy tablets. The drugs get our cast of characters in a sharing mood and so lots of things are brought to the surface. As Laura herself says: “Things left unsaid seems to be the theme for this…gathering”.
By the end of the following day everything that needs to be said gets said, trust us. The core storyline is, of course, between the brothers Lex and David. Their lives veered off on separate pathways due to a tragedy stemming from their childhood. The viewer is clued in on the cause of Lex’s trauma early on but there’s one crucial detail that is left out until the very end. Add onto that an avalanche of unspoken and unrequited feelings between the cast of gay characters and you have yourself a captivating and intense drama that plays out like a primetime soap.
Says writer/ director Mark Schwab: “I’ve always been interested in stories where the characters are metaphorically ‘trapped’ in a location and forced to confront damaging decisions they have made towards each other. That’s why I’ve always loved the theater and films (such as Knives Out) where characters can be surprised – even shocked – by what they learn about people they’ve known for years.”
The series can easily be binged as a whole film but dividing it into a series really works. The story is dialogue driven so the episodic format enables you to fully take in the story in easily digestible sections. Further, the scenarios the characters find themselves in evoke an empathetic response in the viewer. Themes of love, regret, resentment, and yearning play throughout the story amongst people that are extremely flawed but relatable. The way the story is resolved is completely true to life which lets the viewer know that Schwab is coming from a very real and authentic place with his writing. This one is definitely worth checking out.
Click here to see Brotherly Lies.