The Brothers Bloom runs in the tradition of all great con-artist movies. You have the con artist who falls for the mark. The steadfast con man who has to keep the game going. The innocent mark. And well there is always a twist.
The pedigree of the Brothers Bloom though has two Oscar winners, an Oscar nominee and two highly respected character actors. So I had high hopes for this movie going in.
Adrien Brody and Mark Ruffalo star as the Brothers Bloom, two brothers who were shifted around from foster parent to foster parent throughout their childhood. Their common bond is that they learn to pull off cons. As they grow up, the Brothers become the world’s greatest con men.
Brody’s character is just referred to as Bloom and he is the pushover brother. Ruffalo plays Stephen is the steadfast brother. Then there is their creepy sidekick Bang Bang (Oscar nominee Rinko Kikuchi).
Their mark is a beautiful, shut-in heiress Penelope (Rachel Weisz). This will be Bloom’s final con as he wants to go legit. But this con will require more planning, more sneakiness and more cunning than the Brothers have ever done before. What ever Bloom does he can’t fall for the mark! Too late!
The movie was written and directed by Rian Johnson who brought the hidden indie gem, Brick. He brings the same intelligence and character development here as he did in his first movie.
The Brothers Bloom is beautiful in its voiceovers, transitions, character development and execution. I loved how each section of the con was signified like chapter titles in a book. I really also like Adrien Brody as the tormented brother. Ruffalo and Rinko were interesting and the cameos from Robbie Coltrane and Maximillian Schell were priceless. Oh, and including Ricky Jay as the narrator was awesome! You cant have a con movie without a tip of the hat David Mamet’s con-artist muse.
For 85% of the movie it is pretty routine but the final 50 minutes of the film you just have no idea where the con ends and real life begins. I loved that aspect because so many con artist movies keep the audience in on the con. The Sting, Grifters and even Dirty Rotten Scoundrels all had great twists but Brothers raises the bar in the final act “con confusion”.
I will be yearning to see Rian Johnson’s next movie as he is becoming one of those unsung filmmakers we should all embrace.
4.5 out of 5
So Says the Soothsayer.