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The Brothers Bloom

Blu-ray Review


Adrien Brody

Mark Ruffalo

Rachel Weisz

Directed by:

Rian Johnson

For those of you who are not familar with The Brothers Bloom, it tells the story of two brothers, Bloom (Adrien Brody) and Stephen (Mark Ruffalo).  The brothers are con men, with Stephen being the architect behind their schemes and Bloom his reluctant muse.

The film starts out during the brothers' childhood, with Stephen and Bloom bouncing from one foster home to another.  During one of these bounces the brothers discover their true calling, grifting.

After their first con is complete, flash forward twenty years, and we meet up with the brothers again in their adulthood.  We also meet the third man in their crew (Rinko Kikuchi), an asian woman who rarely speaks and is most commonly referred to as "Bang Bang" because of her love of explosives.  Bloom wants out of the con man game, and Stephen wants to set up one more score.  The mark is a wealthy heiress, Penelope (Rachel Weisz), who has a comical ability to repeatedly crash her Lamborghini.

We follow this con from its inception through to its inevitable end, with a few predictable and not so predictable twists along the way. 

The Brothers Bloom is not a perfect movie, however it does tell an engaging story.  After watching it, my wife and I were running through the names of our friends who we thought would appreciate it, and the others we thought would hate it, and the fact that we were able to have that discussion tells me there is definitely something here.

The problems with the movie tend to primarily be due to an uneven tone.  The Brothers Bloom switches between slapstick comedy, subtle comedy and drama, and the background is filled with tiny details careful viewers will thoroughly appreciate.  Unfortunately, the changes between drama and comedy can be somewhat jarring.

The plot is also fairly convoluted, and relies on a lot of deus ex machina to get us from point A to point B (and C and D).

I'm trying not to come across as negative, because I actually enjoyed the film.  There were many moments when I found myself laughing out loud, and by the end, I genuinely cared about the characters.  It's the kind of film I could see myself watching multiple times, but where I'd need to leave a fair amount of time between viewings (so it could "surprise" me again).

People who like the films of Wes Anderson (Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou) will probably find themselves enjoying this film.  People who prefer a film to settle on a style (either realistic, or slapstick), will probably be turned off by the abrupt changes in tone.

For fans of the genre, and fans of any of the creative team who put this together, you won't regret seeing The Brothers Bloom.  I wouldn't recommend it as a blind buy for anyone, but it's a very strong rental.