Monday, November 30, 2009

The Brothers Bloom

Posted by lea at 4:41 PM
The Brothers Bloom is about 2 con-men brothers (Stephen played by Mark Ruffalo, who cooks up the cons, and Bloom played by Adrien Brody, who lives his life vicariously through them) and their last mark, the isolated and eccentric heiress (a.k.a 'the epileptic photographer') Penelope, played by the truly delightful Rachel Weisz.

The movie opens when the boys are young, moving from foster home to foster home, where they learn to depend only on each other against the big bad world. Stephen quickly learns how to play people (starting with 'the playground bourgeoisie') so everyone gets what they want – especially him and Bloom. He gives Bloom the life he's too shy to grab for himself, writing each con like a masterpiece of theatrical drama. But Bloom wants something real, not the written life that Stephen provides. Stephen wheedles a final con from Bloom, and this is where Bloom meets Penelope – the lonely heiress in her ivory tower, a terrible driver, interested in everything, socially awkward and definitely up for an adventure – in short, she's ripe for the picking.

Director Rian Johnson has done a wonderful job with this quirky, interesting and most of all, very funny movie. On the plus side, the scenery (the story moves across several continents), music and cast are simply superb. On the minus side, there are some holes in the plot and a too-neat ending. But on the whole, all the minuses are forgivable because it's just so charming, and there are some truly hilarious scenes that you can't help but laugh aloud at.

My usual favourite Mark Ruffalo plays the straightest of the four main characters (I forgot to mention the awesomely cool Bang Bang, the mute Japanese ingenue who likes to blow things up), but Rachel Weisz absolutely steals the show as Penelope Stamp. She is simply adorable, and makes The Brothers Bloom well worth the effort of parking on Oxford St to watch (why aren't more cinemas in Sydney other than Paddington Verona showing it??).

My top 5 con movies:
  • Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
  • The Brothers Bloom
  • Shooting Fish
  • Catch Me If You Can
  • Matchstick Men

Con movies on my Christmas viewing list:
  • The Sting
  • The Grifters

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