Tuesday, September 22, 2009
The Brothers Bloom **
Director: Rian Johnson
Cast: Adrien Brody, Mark Ruffalo, Rachel Weisz
Rinko Kikuchi, Robbie Coltrane
Writer/director Rian Johnson tells the story of the title brothers, Stephen (Ruffalo) and Bloom (Brody), two con artists for whom every new job is a play of sorts.
They get into character, develop twists and orchestrate grand finales. But eventually Bloom wants out, he wants to live "an unwritten life".
So Stephen comes up with one last job: conning eccentric heiress Penelope Stamp (Weisz). Things go wrong when Bloom falls for her and before you can say "an inverted 'The Lady Eve'", Johnson has delivered a restless film-straight out of the Wes Anderson book of witty- that thrives on quirk, movie and music references and utter aimlessness.
The actors are pretty good, but bring nothing we hadn't seen before to the table. Brody mopes, Ruffalo shows-off and Weisz uses her Victorian beauty to evoke novel heroines.
But the film's problem is Johnson's script and smugness; he tries to pull a million rabbits out of the same hat, without considering that by the third the audience is already in need of something different.
He has so much fun with his characters that he turns them uninteresting-for people who aren't him at least-and by the second half of the film it's difficult to want to invest any sort of interest in them.
Heist movies should be enjoyable-even if the end to their means is not legal-but make it so that the audience is fooled and the characters within the movie have no idea what the hell just happened.
But not a single thing in "The Brothers Bloom" feels organic or unwritten. Some movies are too quirky for their own damn good.