Brother's Keeper (2002)

Film details

Synopsis

Lucinda Pond has always been a devoted sister. While growing up in a broken home, she often shouldered the housekeeping responsibilities and tried to protect her younger brother Ellis from their father's violent abuse. Their father constantly took out his drunken aggressions on his children, always finishing by popping a stick of Minty Fresh gum in his mouth and throwing the wrapper at them. The abuse wound up scarring Ellis for life, but Lucinda was eventually able to overcome her tormented childhood.

Years later, Lucinda has become a criminal investigator - and Ellis has become a criminal. As always, Lucinda protects Ellis, repeatedly letting him off the hook when he runs into trouble with the law. Their father finally passes away, and one week after his death, Ellis steals their father's car and sets off for the Chrome Lord Factory (their father's former workplace), where he starts trashing everything. Lucinda arrives on the scene first and tells Ellis to leave immediately, protecting her brother once again.

A year after the incident, Lucinda is investigating a string of murders believed to have been commiteded by a man named Victor Orbin. Circumstantial evidence reveals that Orbin has been living in a small cabin on a local creek, and Lucinda leads a SWAT team to the cabin with orders to shoot to kill. As a man emerges from the cabin, Lucinda realizes it is not Victor Orbin, but it is too late for her to recant her orders. The SWAT teams fires on the innocent victim, shooting him dead. The incident at Maris Creek costs Lucinda her job, and she moves to a remote cabin on a nearby lake, where she opens up a boat and tackle shop.

A few years later, another rash of murders occurs, and local Chief Homicide Detective Travis Adler believes that Victor Orbin may be striking again. Lucinda is still the best investigator he knows, so he decides to ask for her help. Meanwhile, without Lucinda there to protect him, Lucinda's brother Ellis has finally ended up in prison, but he escapes and once again begins to wreak havoc. Ellis hunts down internal affairs investigator Fred Tierney - the man who interrogated Lucinda and eventually fired her over the Maris Creek incident - and strangles him to death with his own belt, not forgetting to leave a Minty Fresh wrapper behind just like his father used to.

Lucinda decides to help Detective Travis with the case. The next incident is a double murder which takes place at Lucinda's childhood home. The investigation sparks a childhood memory for Lucinda in which her father left her and Ellis in the middle of the woods at night and in the rain. Lucinda kept telling Ellis it was all a game and fed him riddles to keep his mind off the fact that they were lost and scared. Although they eventually found their way home by a trail of gum wrappers left by the side of the road, the incident hit Ellis hard, and Lucinda realizes the experience combined with the constant abuse may have created a deep psychosis in Ellis that may never be healed. It suddenly dawns on her that this latest string of murders are being committed by her very own brother.

Her suspicions are confirmed when she finds a note in the attic of their old home that reads: "Hey Lucey Goosey, On a Midnight Monday, the Holy Mother perched, high above the street, while the homeless flopped on salvation seats." Ellis is telling Lucinda in riddle to meet him - but where? Lucinda finally pieces together that Ellis wants her to meet him at the Lady of Sorrows church, a place they used to be dropped off at as children when their father would slip off to have affairs with other women. However, their meeting goes bad when Ellis suspects that other investigators are on site. He sets up a bomb in his hotel room, and when a SWAT team barges in to find him, they trigger the bomb, killing and wounding many of their men.

Following her instincts, Lucinda returns to the Chrome Lord Factory to see if she can find any more leads. When she searches the basement, she finds a decomposing body that turns out to be Victor Orbin. It is apparent that Victor died quite some time ago - long before the Maris Creek incident - and Lucinda realizes she has been hunting the wrong man all along.

Finally, Ellis travels to Crater Lake National Park, where he takes the life of another victim. Tom Howlit is Ellis' camping neighbor, an abusive father with a fiery temper. Ellis cannot help but want to save Howlit's son Kelly from the same kind of abuse that he once endured years ago. Ellis murders Tom, leaves Tom's wife gagged and bound, and takes Tom's son Kelly along with him into the depths of the forest.

Word about what has happened reaches Lucinda, and she begins to make preparations to face off with her brother for what may be the final time. Ellis wants Lucinda to stop taking care of him - but can she?

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