Directed by Rian Johnson
“All their lives, brothers Stephen (Ruffalo) and Bloom (Brody) have perfected the fine art of the con. Now they’re ready for one last spectacular score – luring Penelope (Weisz), an eccentric heiress, into an elaborate scheme that takes them around the world. Watch as writer/director Rian Johnson’s (Brick) caper unravels in this brilliant, comedic tale.”
“The Brothers Bloom” is rated PG-13 for violence, some sensuality and brief strong language.
The first three quarters of “The Brothers Bloom” is quite lighthearted, quirky, and funny. We see the brothers in their early years as they’re booted from one foster family to another. We see them perfecting their scams on young neighbor kids. The movie then flashes forward many years and shows them at the top of their game in the middle of a major con. This provides a lot of great visual gags as well as great dialogue. But things are upped a notch when we’re introduced to the eccentric Penelope Stamp who is played by Rachel Weisz. She’s a terrible driver (as shown by a wrecked Lamborghini every time she touches the wheel), master of whatever catches her fancy (including juggling chainsaws on a unicycle), and incredibly rich and lonely. She’s a perfect mark for the brothers. However, she ends up surprising them again and again with her amazing set of skills. Seeing them all dumbfounded is a major part of the fun in “The Brothers Bloom.” Unfortunately, in the final quarter of the film things take a dark, depressing, melancholy turn that doesn’t really fit the rest of the movie and it ends up kind of ruining things. It might offend the indie sensibilities of the creators, but this movie needed a “Hollywood ending.” Instead we get a rather confusing ending that doesn’t fit the mood of the rest of the film and feels like the creators cobbled it together without knowing exactly how to end it.
This movie is largely successful because of its excellent cast. Adrien Brody and Mark Ruffalo are both excellent as the brothers, but it’s Rachel Weisz as Penelope Stamp that steals the show. This is easily one of my favorite roles I’ve seen her in. Her character is just so enthusiastic about the con, even if she’s the one being swindled. Her embracing the lifestyle, to the complete befuddlement of the brothers, is just a lot of fun to watch. Another MVP of the movie is Rinko Kikuchi as Bang Bang. She barely has any lines in the film, but her silent reactions to everything and her mysterious background make her one of the more compelling characters of the story. Throw in Robbie Coltrane as The Curator and you see why the cast is so great.
If you like any of the lead cast, especially Rachel Weisz, or if you like movies about con men, then you’ll enjoy “The Brothers Bloom.”
The bonus features on the DVD are pretty good. You get standard offerings like an audio commentary, storyboard comparisons, an image gallery, and twenty deleted scenes. I mentioned that the ending was a tad confusing and these deleted scenes shed a little more light on what was going on. “In Bloom: Behind the Scenes” is kind of a fly on the wall video that lets you feel like you’re hanging around on the set watching the cast and crew while filming. The commentaries by Rian Johnson and the behind the scenes footage give all these bonus features an intimate feel that you don’t typically get on DVDs.