TIFF Review: The Brothers Bloom

One of the reasons why I love The Brothers Bloom, is because the film cons the audience. The Brothers Bloom is a story about two brothers, disguised as a love story, disguised as a con movie. The perfect con is where everyone involved gets what they wanted. By the time the credits roll, you will be happy to have experienced a film you weren’t expecting.

The Brothers Bloom have been in the con game since they were young children. Now, along with their speechless explosive expert sidekick Bang Bang, have become the best con team in the world. Stephen (Mark Ruffalo) writes his cons “like dead Russians write novels, full of thematic arks and symbolism.” Now in his 30′s, Bloom (Adrien Brody) wants out of the Con game, hoping to live a real story for a change. But he is lured into one last con, to trick an eccentric shut-in rich woman named Penelope Stamp (Rachel Weisz), out of millions of dollars. But when Bloom falls for the mark, the con begins to unravel.

Comically absurd and fantastically fun, The Brothers Bloom is like a film from another era in another dimension. Weisz is wonderfully cute, and Ruffalo tells a story “so well that it becomes real.” The only problem with Rian Johnson’s follow-up to 2005′s critically acclaimed high school noir indie Brick, is that it is hard to resist comparing it to the filmmakers triumphant directorial debut. And it would be extremely unfair to compare the two films.

Johnson will likely draw comparisons to Paul Thomas Anderson and Wes Anderson. For example, the opening narration is done by Ricky Jay, who also provided the incredible bookend narration for PTA’s Magnolia. Johnson’s use of the swish pan, sharply cut montages, the core brother story, and cast of quirky characters is reminiscent of Wes Anderson. If you’re going to be compared to anyone, Anderson and Anderson are certainly good company. Johnson brings to the table absurd comic moments, sharp and stylish dialogue, and a story with more twists and turns than an elaborate card trick. While Weisz is juggling chainsaws on top of a unicycle, you will believe a lie can tell the truth.

/Film Rating: 8 out of 10

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About the Author

Peter Sciretta is a film geek and popcultured fanboy living in Los Angeles. He created /Film in 2005.

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