Underseen Gem: The Brothers Bloom

So Looper comes out this weekend and I can’t wait to get to the theater. And it ain’t that I’m big on time travel stories. The truth is I don’t like most of them–too many “if they can do that, why couldn’t they just have done this…” holes in the plot and internal consistency stuff tends to bug me, tends to mar otherwise fine movies for me. So no fondness for time travel.

What I’m excited about is a new movie regardless of subject matter from Rian Johnson, the guy who made The Brothers Bloom. I love this movie. I look over at IMDB and it just makes me sad that it only made 4 million at the box office. Nobody saw it in the theater. Unfortunately, me included. I caught it on DVD and am kicking myself for it. It’s a mistake I won’t repeat. So the movie… Mark Ruffalo and Andrian Brody are the titled brothers and con-men. Brody wants out–tired of living a life where he’s never himself, always a character in their current scheme. But Ruffalo convinces him to go along for one last con, taking a fortune from a lonely heiress played by Rachel Weisz. Of course, the con does not go as planned. The brother’s history comes back to haunt them as their former mentor and nemesis Diamond Dog shows up. You start wondering who is conning who in the best possible way.

Ruffalo and Brody are fine in their roles, but Weisz is absolutely charming. It’s her enthusiasm that pulls everything along. Rinko Kikuchi as the brothers silent associate Bang Bang also manages to steal a scene here and there without a word. The movie is quirky at times but never gets forced about being quirky for quirk’s sake (though you may disagree when the costuming makes you ponder briefly if it’s a period piece). Even the darkest moments manage to stay breezy. It’s a fun time at the movies and you might just find yourself getting conned along with most of the cast.

And since I started with Looper, I may as well bookend this with a quick nod to Johnson’s earlier film, Brick. I don’t like it as much as The Brother’s Bloom, but it’s still an interesting debut film even with its tiny budget. The premise is bizarre: a noir thriller with dialog right out of The Maltese Falcon and its ilk, but set in a contemporary high school with a teen protagonist. The contrast in tone is probably closest to Romeo + Juliet and at times it’s similarly jarring. But even here you can see the promise in the sharp writing.

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One thought on “Underseen Gem: The Brothers Bloom

  1. Pingback: Underseen Gem: In Bruges | J. Tanner vs. the Page

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