"The Brothers Bloom" DVD, Blu-ray Movie Review (2010)

1/13/2010 Posted by Admin

DVD, Blu-ray Movie Review

"The Brothers Bloom"

Directed by Rian Johnson, Written by Johnson, 113 Minutes, Rated PG-13.

By our guest blogger, Rob Stammitti

The best films about con men are themselves a con. They trick and manipulate the audience, and not just in plot, but in character. After all, how many great films about con men are there where the film doesn't trick you into loving the con men themselves?

Rian Johnson debuted in 2005 with his cheaply made but downright brilliant high school neo-noir "Brick," which starred Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Nora Zehetner. Though the film is quite referential and cheeky in its homage to noir, Johnson was sure not to extend the homage beyond that. It is never a mockery or blatant copy of anything in the genre.

"The Brothers Bloom" is an entirely different film--not necessarily an homage to any specific genre, except perhaps elements of con and adventure thrillers, and while one may expect the young director's transition would be a messy one, he actually succeeds thoroughly. Whereas "Brick" is a very dark film, both visually and thematically, "Bloom" is vibrant, silly and light-hearted (generally).

This deft transition is almost cheekily indicated by Johnson himself with very brief appearances by both Gordon-Levitt and Zehetner in the beginning of the film, almost a "farewell" to one style as he begins another.

I won't get too specific with the plot, as plenty of surprises are in store and it would be a shame to ruin any of them. Basically, brothers Stephen (Mark Ruffalo) and Bloom (Adrien Brody) are renowned in the crime world for their talents as confidence men, but Bloom is tired of living this life (a life he considers as a sort of con he's pulling on himself) and he wants out. The duo (along with their trusty demolitions expert Bang Bang, portrayed by the wonderfully subtle Rinko Kikuchi) plan one final con on an eccentric heiress (Rachel Weisz, giving her best performance and one of the best comic performances of 2009). Cons become more cons become more cons, and chaos ensues.

Ruffalo and Brody have incredible chemistry, with Brody portraying the sort of quiet, introspective guy that's become the norm for him. Ruffalo is, as all great con men should be, astoundingly charismatic and likable.

Johnson has a surprisingly confident visual sensibility after only one other film, and he displays an excellent ability at balancing many different emotions and crucial plot elements in both "Brick" and "Bloom." Brody's desire to lead a normal life that isn't simply con after con, story after story, is so well balanced with Ruffalo's obsession with storytelling, which is what led to his affinity for conning in the first place. In a way Ruffalo acts as a sort of fictional version of Johnson himself, in control of the whole story and constantly attempting to fool his audience, which really is everyone around him.

What Johnson is probably best at, however, is writing characters that seem completely absurd but still manage to be human.

Johnson seems as if he'll be one of those rare talents that is able to jump from genre to genre, attempting numerous styles, stories and themes, but always maintaining that distinct heart and soul that defines him as a filmmaker. With "The Brothers Bloom" he's two for two.

Grade: B+

View the trailer for "The Brothers Bloom" below. What are you thoughts?

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