” The Brothers Bloom” is a fantastic comedy, fairy tale and con movie all rolled into one starring Adrien Brody, Mark Ruffalo, and Rachel Weisz. Brody and Ruffalo play brothers who con millionaires with elaborate stories filled with “thematic arcs and hidden symbolism” created by Stephen (Ruffalo). Bloom (Brody) wants out and wants to live an “unwritten life.” After Bloom disappears for awhile, his brother approaches him for one last con. The mark is the beautiful Penelope Stamp (Weisz), a very wealthy, lonely and bored heiress. Penelope “collects hobbies” such as playing the banjo, balancing on a unicycle while juggling chainsaws, or inserting hidden cameras into random pieces of fruit. She describes her interests as “warped, peculiar, perfect and odd. Exactly how I would describe this film written and directed by Rian Johnson who also wrote and directed “Brick.” This film is a completely different view than Brick though. This film exerts more of a Wes Anderson feel; very witty, fun, symbolic and colorful.
Johnson did a wonderful job picking beautiful destinations as background characters such as Mexico, Montenegro, St. Petersburg and Greece. He started the story out with the brothers as little kids, giving history to their bond. The two boys played by Zachary Gordon and Max Records were so intriguing and wonderful to watch. Johnson developed their characters so early on that I knew who was who when they were grown up before saying their names.
Brody played Bloom very intimately, a role he does so well. He was a quiet romantic with a sense for adventure. His relationship with Penelope was so adoring to watch. They seemed to go together so well. He was the strong, seasoned con man, and she was the innocent, adventure-seeking happy go lucky girl that he had been looking for. She had spent her life locked up in her mansion taking care of her mother and never getting to live a life outside of that. Which is why it was so funny to watch her interact with Bloom at first. She was not good with conversation and often said the wrong thing such as “Your constipated in your soul”. She was a child inside of a grown up’s body and it so easily showed on Weisz’s face.
Stephen (Ruffalo) was the brains behind all of the con operations. He was brilliant at it as well. So much that he was able to incorporate little symbolic jewels into his plans just for the sake of poetry. For example, part of their plan was to sail on a boat called The Fidele, to a port and with them was a man named Melville, also known as The Belgian. The author Herman Melville wrote a book called The Confidence Man where the con men were on a boat called “the Fidele.” This was just as Penelope was discovering that the brothers were not who they say they were.
There was also another member in their con group known as Bang Bang (Rinko Kikuchi) who was an artist of nitroglycerin. She barely spoke any English but she knew how to order a Campari at the bar. She provided a lot of humor with just her expressions. We don’t know a lot about her, but we know that she just showed up one day with the brothers and they accepted her.
This film was a fast moving experience that kept you thinking and laughing all the way through. To quote Stephen, he said, “the perfect con is one where everyone involved gets just what they wanted.” Well I think its safe to say, that if the audience was at all conned, they still got exactly what they wanted, and had a great time during it.
I recommend this movie for everyone and give it 5 “favorite camels” out of 5. You will understand when you see the film.
by Angela Davis