Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Movie Review: The Brothers Bloom

Pick a genre of film – any genre at all. Horror, fantasy, drama, thriller … pick one, and when you’ve got it, proceed to name every movie in that genre. Not easy, right? Here, let me try.

Bottle Rocket. Rushmore. The Royal Tenenbaums. The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. The Darjeeling Limited. Hmn … One more in there …. Oh yeah! The Brothers Bloom.

While not a classically established genre, this list represents films from a new grouping for cinema: the Wes Anderson film. While some of them are a bit iffy, especially those at the beginning of the list – you know, the ones by Wes Anderson – the one at the end is really, really great. And, it’s the only one not by Wes Anderson.

Second time filmmaker Rian Johnson’s new film, The Brothers Bloom, does something very odd – it created this new genre. All of Anderson’s films have a very distinctive quirkiness to them, and when you watch one, you know the film is by him. Johnson obviously liked them so much, that he decided to write and direct one, himself. So … when you take established parameters, create art within them, and by adding your own voice improve upon them … and not maliciously – there is nothing in Johnson’s film that feels like he is “ripping off” Anderson’s ideas – doesn’t that mean that a new genre has been created for artists to work in?

Well, whether it does or it doesn’t, The Brothers Bloom is one hell of a great film. Basically, it’s the story of two brothers who, after a life of moving from foster home to foster home perfecting scamming people, are con men grifting their way through life. Stephen (Mark Ruffalo), the elder, dreams up the cons and writes them thematically with his brother Bloom (Adrian Brody) “starring” in them as the subject of each tale. With their partner Bang Bang (Rinko Kikuchi), a Japanese explosives expert who is silent by choice and a scene stealer by nature, they try for “one last con” on Penelope, a rich shut in played by Rachel Weisz.

The dialogue flows beautifully; the sets and locations are exquisite and exotic; and even when the situations are at their worst, the characters are simply delightful to watch. Weisz is the best example of this – her Penelope is one of the most instantly lovable characters I’ve ever seen on screen. From her entrance in the film (a car crash of habitual routine), to the montage of her showing off all her home-learned skills (such as juggling chainsaws while riding a tall unicycle), to her blossoming romance with Bloom (containing the funniest make-out scene I’ve seen in a long time), every second of her screen time made me smile and just say “Awww …” When I last saw her in a movie, it was in My Blueberry Nights, and her supporting role helped me to me fall in love with star Norah Jones (if I ever meet her, I WILL propose to her) - but her role here was unlike any other I’ve seen her play. Innocent, childish, energetic and wildly cute, she is the movie. As it stands, the film is an excellent character piece, with great comedy, drama, action and thrills to keep a smile on your face from beginning to end.

I strongly recommend that you see this when it opens – if you like laughing and have an imagination. It is delightful, it is extremely well crafted, and best of all – it is pure fun.

+ The Brothers Bloom Review [Movie Moron]

- Goodchild

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