Directed by: Rian Johnson
Written by: Rian Johnson
Starring: Rachel Weisz, Adrien Brody, Mark Ruffalo, Rinko Kikuchi, Maximilian Schell
Forming a con involves telling a story so believable, the mark goes along until the artist abruptly cuts it off and they have no idea what just happened. The better the story, the more the con artists can get away with, and not many can do it better than this brotherly duo. In The Brothers Bloom, the story weaved together mixes with reality on so many occasions that it’ll make you feel like you’re the mark when the dust settles.
After swearing off the con game for good, Bloom (Adrien Brody) gets approached by his brother Stephen (Mark Ruffalo), who proposes one final con for the duo. This con involves befriending the incredibly rich, Penelope Stamp (Rachel Weisz) and finding a way to steal her riches while she believes to be in some adventure. Things begin to get complicated when allegiances begin to break and Bloom starts to break one of the cardinal rules of the con game.
As twisty and turvy as a story can get, The Brothers Bloom will definitely entertain anyone who decides to put it on. It has an airy feeling to it where the stakes may not be that large but the fun story it takes us on keeps us riveted the entire time. This feeling of uncertainty throughout happens with a purpose because we are getting tricked along with Penelope, as the Bloom brothers craft this entire narrative in order to achieve their score. Several moments throughout the feature, you’ll wonder if what you see is real or something drawn up to evoke emotion and ultimately part of the con. As the audience, we get more of a look behind the curtain than Penelope does, but we’re still susceptible to the game at hand.
With the con taking place in the story, the beautiful background of various European cities allows us to be immersed in the adventure Penelope believes she’s on. Everything feels like a distraction in a sense as well, and it’s the job of the audience to not be lulled into falling for the con. It’s truly a nifty story, which came to no surprise that the architect of it all was Rian Johnson. A director who knows how to use genres and craft biting stories, his second feature becomes quite the dizzying experience. His dialogue provided to the characters feels so rich in the way they attempt to navigate between the real world and the con they’re attempting to pull off. The tight writing keeps the pacing humming throughout without a single dull moment. As the Bloom siblings attempt to dupe Penelope, Johnson attempts to do the same with us as he parallels the concept of a con with storytelling overall. It comes at no surprise Johnson can weave thrilling stories together with plenty of twists. One only needs to look at his other films like Knives Out and Brick.
The two brothers had some fine actors portraying them but neither of them came close to the majestic performance by Rachel Weisz. She’s an actor who never disappoints and she plays the wonderful mark, Penelope. The naivete Weisz displays in this role demonstrates the purity of her character and why it becomes difficult for Bloom to continue with the con. The eccentricities of this character begin from her introduction where she literally crashes a sports car and admits her loneliness, which has propelled her to have amassed several hobbies. Some of those hobbies include juggling and kung fu. The unimpeded optimism and wonder on the face of Weisz serve as the ultimate sign of positivity amongst the two very cynical and plotting brothers.
Much of the fun offered by The Brothers Bloom comes from the unpredictability of the story and if you can predict the twist coming seemingly at every turn. It results in a huge success, as the film becomes an exhilarating experience because of its writing, direction, and acting. The stars came to play, as did the side characters, who added their own level of mystery to the story. Everything comes together to demonstrate the incredible talent of everyone involved. Beware of getting caught in the con within the con because Rian Johnson can do some wonders when he’s released to create something from his own imagination. He has not disappointed once thus far and he certainly measures up with this whimsical, salacious, and comedic adventure.