182: The Brothers Bloom

The Brothers Bloom (PG-13) - 2009 - Runtime: 113 minutes
Starring: Adrien Brody, Mark Ruffalo, Rachel Weisz, Rinko Kikuchi
Director: Rian Johnson

I was anxiously awaiting this movie ever since I fell in love with Johnson's directorial debut, Brick. His first movie is something that I consider one of the best movies of 2006; it's something that I recommend to a customer whenever they're looking for a good drama or thriller. It was pretty amazing that for his second movie he pulled together such a terrific cast. Although The Brothers Bloom never received much praise as his first, this movie is definitely a keeper.

The Brothers Bloom, simply put, are con men. They've grown up without any supervision and have consequently managed to con their way through life. That is, until Bloom (Brody) decides he wants out for good and leaves Stephen (Ruffalo). A few months pass and Stephen finds Bloom to offer him one last con: Penelope Stamp, a rich, socially reclusive woman who collects hobbies (Weisz). Of course things get complicated and Bloom obviously falls in love with Penelope. It's a fairly predictable story that's told, but as with Brick, it's not necessarily about the ending but how it arrives there.

It's like Johnson's winking at the camera the whole time. This sounds negative, but it's better for the movie. It never takes itself too seriously and the film has a light hearted air to all the cons and double crosses. But make no mistake, the final con (which encompasses most of the movie) is epic and you never know what might happen next. Weisz plays the awkward and sometimes crazy Penelope with a bit of clutzy charm and cute sexiness. It's one of her best performances because it's so different from most of her roles. Ruffalo and Brody have good chemistry together - Brody the straight man and Ruffalo, the ever oppressive older brother who is leader of their rag-tag group, which includes the very silent Bang Bang played with a mysterious danger by Rinko Kikuchi.

Things swell to the grand finale; the final payoff of the con. But if anything, it feels anti-climactic and without spoiling anything, it's kind of the point of the movie. The whole movie hinges on the relationship between Stephen and Bloom and things come to an inevitable conclusion, with subtle metaphors included. It's a fun ride across the country and worth checking out!

Rating: Rent It!

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