A blog about movies and filmmaking.

A 76 Cadillac, a controversial choice.

In cult film on June 9, 2009 at 1:42 am

The movie this summer that you ought to go see, if possible, is THE BROTHERS BLOOM, written and directed by Rian Johnson. The same creative mind (I hesitated to say, “visionary creator”, but that term is so loaded now) behind the contemporary, teen-noir BRICK, brings us the story of two brothers who start out as hard to handle orphans and grow into what might be one of the best con-man teams in the world. Stephen, as is said in the movie, writes cons like “dead Russians write poems”. He plans out every detail and even has small details built into the game. And the star of these performances – to the chagrin seemingly is the other brother Bloom. And the main con that we are witness to in this movie is setup with Penelope as the mark. 

This is a fun movie, where you know pretty much from the opening that you’re in for some tricks and twists, and the movie does a great job of not falling into the cliches of confidence movies. It also retains a lot of the stylization that BRICK had in it’s dialogue. Along with that, we get a number of magic trick/slight of hand performances, by the stars of the movie. Penelope, played by the always wonderful Rachel Weisz, in one moment tells a touching story of her life while also performing a card trick where she repeatedly finds the aces in the deck (the clip was available on http://apple.com), and then there’s one character who is essentially a walking piece of sleight of hand – and steals the movie in pretty much any scene she’s in – and that’s Bang Bang, played by Rinko Kikuchi (BABEL). Whether it’s tossing one pair of sunglasses off a bridge to then pull the same pair out of a pocket, being someplace one second and then gone the next, Bang Bang pretty much as to be everyone’s favorite character. 

Of course the movie is about Bloom (Adrien Brody), who has spent his life playing a part in Stephen’s (Mark Ruffalo) cons, and has been doing it so long; living a life that is written out for him, that he has a hard time telling what’s part of the con and what might be his true feelings. And that’s the real conflict in this movie. Sure, there’s the subplot of their scams, but getting Bloom to know what’s happening for real, and what’s all planned out already is where this movie’s…well, where the story line goes. Penelope is the heart of the movie and it’s kind of her willingness to go along with the cons that kind of allows Bloom to break out of this just kind of being a job. 

Of course, we’re never explicitly told what actually is con and what’s real. The final couple of scenes twist and turn – but not in a con-like way, where we’re given the “Ah, so that’s how they did that” kind of moment; instead it’s left for us to decide. And there’s the small chance that EVERYTHING was part of the plan that Stephen had planned from the beginning. (You’ll have to see it a couple of times to get everything that’s built in, but there are clues that kind of lead in one direction; but it’s always left for us to mull over.) 

I really liked the movie, and feel bad that this wasn’t given the chance to be put in front of mainstream audiences. This would never be a blockbuster hit, but I have faith that it would have found a larger audience than what it’s been given so far. Go see it! 

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