Monday, January 11, 2010

The Brothers Bloom (2008)

Director: Rian Johnson
Summit DVD

Rian Johnson's second feature continues to show his fondness for classic Hollywood fare mixed with modern storytelling flourishes. Where this differs from his debut, Brick, is that it is much more playful in tone. It follows two orphaned brothers that grow up to be con men. One (Mark Ruffalo) loves the life and the other (Adrien Brody) doesn't. He wants what he calls an unscripted life. The Ruffalo brother talks him into one last con (or their wouldn't be a movie) where they are to swindle a rich, beautiful, odd-ball, recluse played by Rachel Weisz. She is not what they expected and there are twists and turns, and everyone (sorta) gets what they want in the end. When the film was initially released terms like precious and quirky were bandied about and that's not generally a good thing. And while I can see those things in it, it never gets too cutesy. The characters are charming enough and there was something alluring about the world they inhabit, all steam ships, old architecture, and bicycles. There is also an interesting idea going on with the philosophy that, "Life is but a stage..." as we the audience may pontificate that we are all con men (or women) lying to ourselves about our own lives, at least to some degree.


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