"Two Brothers" is a rare animal indeed: A critter movie not just for kids, with well-drawn, well-acted human roles that are more than just sidekicks for the stars of the show -- two extraordinarily expressive Asian tigers named Kumal and Sangha.

Generally a Serious Actor drawn to atypical grown-up dramas like "Memento" and "A Slipping Down Life," Guy Pearce is especially good as Aidan McRory, a famous, roguish adventurer, hunter and unscrupulous treasure profiteer in 1920s French Indochina, who becomes an occasional fixture in the tigers' lives. But Pearce also clearly understands he's in a supporting role and lets no movie-star pride get in the way of the story.

The first half of the film is about the cubhood of timid, curious Kumal and bold, protective Sangha, and how each comes to be captured as humans encroach on their territory and each of their parents is shot. Coincidentally, both tigers are rescued separately by McRory, but his own misfortune (he's arrested for looting archeological sites) leads to Kumal being sold to a gypsy circus, where his spirit is broken, and Sangha being turned into a trained killer by the emperor's private zookeeper.

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