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The Brothers Bloom Review

Our official The Brothers Bloom review. Will you feel conned if you buy a ticket?

Brothers Bloom review
Director: Rian Johnson
Starring: Rachel Weisz, Adrien Brody, Mark Ruffalo, Rinko Kikuchi, Robbie Coltrane

Rian Johnson is responsible for Brick. Brick is one of two films (the other being Donnie Darko) that ensured that this generation’s teen movie legacy was merely marred by its glut of gross-out sex “comedies”, not solely comprised of them. The Brothers Bloom is the writer-director’s second outing and, thankfully, it lives up to his early promise.

The film follows the exploits of Stephen (Mark Ruffalo) and Bloom (Adrian Brody), brothers who just so happen to be full-time conmen. Stephen is the elder, more manipulative sibling; he concocts harebrained schemes, draws flowcharts for his harebrained schemes, and revels in the melodrama of the stories he and his brother must enact in order to implement his harebrained schemes. His brother, Bloom…mopes. A lot. This is the course their lives have taken ever since their misspent youth and it would seem that this is the way that things are destined to continue, until Bloom declares he’s had enough of the conman life, he wants out, and he’s going to hide himself somewhere remote and secluded in order to avoid his brother’s inevitable attempts to make him reconsider.

Of course, reconsider he does, and all it takes is a little Penelope (Rachel Weisz), a reclusive sports car driving heiress and epileptic photographer from New Jersey with mad skills. What kind of skills? All of them. The sheer ridiculousness of Weisz’ character epitomises the film’s unbridled sense of fun, it is self-consciously silly at times, and all the better for it; as a viewer you are lured into Johnson’s peculiar world and feel very much inclined to remain there, it is absolutely beguiling in its own offbeat way. In this much it is similar to Brick, but otherwise it is a marked departure from that film’s genre-bending super-stylisation. The Brothers Bloom is more straightforward, it’s a con movie, and as an audience we know what to expect from it, but it still manages to feel fresh and original.

Brothers Bloom review

The main driving force behind the film’s plot is Stephen’s code of ethics, which stipulates everyone finishes the con happier than they started; the conmen, the accomplices, the mark – everyone gets what they want, even if it’s a lie. The logic being that a satisfying lie, undiscovered, is equally as satisfying as the truth; likewise a lie willingly submitted to, a lie like a story, a novel, or a film.

The film is a blend of adventure, comedy and family dysfunction akin to The Life Aquatic. A commentary on the art of storytelling (read: filmmaking), like The Prestige. Once the brothers embark on what is to be their final con the film progresses nicely towards a satisfying conclusion, taking in all manner of random quirks along the way.

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 55%
Our Rating: B+

Leave your own Brothers Bloom review in the comments.

Also See: Angels & Demons Reviews, Drag Me To Hell Review, Star Trek Review

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  • Chris Neilan said

    Brick was in my top three of that year, but then as a Raymond Chandler fan I’m a sucker for anything noir-ish. I’ve had all sorts of people tell me that they’ve heard inside information that The Brothers Bloom is rubbish, but I choose not to believe them.

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  • DalmatianJaws said

    The trailer for this movie is a bit lame. I hope his sophomore film is good. Brick is stunning.

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  • dnwilliams said

    i was lucky enough to see it before seeing a trailer…the trailer doesn’t do it justice and spoils some great moments. grr.

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  • SFinSF said

    LOVED it. One of my favorite movies sinc “The Usual Suspects” — and like that film and “The Godfather” I need to/want to see it over and over to savor the fantastic art direction and the all the references to other films and works of art…what a FUN film! Only 5 people in the theatre at 7:15 in San Francisco last week, though — TELL YOUR FRIENDS TO SEE IT!

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