Movie Review: The Brothers Bloom

“I think you’re constipated…in your fucking soul.”

Just what is the Brothers Bloom? A bizarrely-entertaining love romp through Europe, marked by your traditional conman piece.

The movie follows the adventures of two brothers, Stephen (Mark Ruffalo) and Bloom (Adrien Brody), who learn very early in life that conning others can be a very successful business. After a fiery job, however, Bloom announces his intention to call it quits—only to be reeled in for “one last gig” by his determined brother. Together with an accomplice, Bang Bang, they eventually conspire to con reclusive heiress Penelope (Rachel Weisz) out of her family’s fortune, but when Bloom begins to fall for her, everything starts going awry. Toss some Russian mobsters and a crazed Prague curator into the mix, and things are bound for craziness.

Pretty standard plot, of course, and it doesn’t try all that hard to stray from other movies of the same mold. You pretty well know how things are going to head from the onset, but the adventure is a real trip. The script is well-written and consistently entertaining. It’s filled with good dialogue and a good sound—including such classic hits as Bob Dylan’s “Tonight I’ll Be Staying Here With You” and Cat Stevens’ “Miles from Nowhere.”

It’s got flair and an undeniable charm lost in many of the mainstream pieces these days. It has a certain style all its own I found constantly appealing. Even though it follows the tracks of traditional plot, the journey and its sheer uniqueness of character carried it through the day. Also: very postmodern in feel. Bizarre, but it proves it can be done well.

The actors were perfect for the parts they played. Rachel Weisz, for one, was absolutely adorable. Incredibly weird, but it was the lovable kind. She’s a spoiled, reclusive rich doll who spends her life “collecting hobbies.” Stamp collecting? No. Think juggling chainsaws, playing banjos, and making watermelon-based pinhole cameras. And stilts…with chainsaws. Also: watching her drive her gorgeous Lamborghini is a scream (and painful). At heart, she’s a kid with dreams of grandeur—the typical cooped up kid suddenly lost in an adventure story. Also: incredibly turned on by thunderstorms. Odd to see, but I wasn’t knocking it.

But the others were equally endearing. Brody delivered as he always does—brilliant, entertaining, emotional when necessary. He and Ruffalo made for great brothers, and both the characters and the actors shared a definite chemistry that made them all the more entertaining for it. Weisz and Brody also clicked splendidly…in their odd little way. Very unique piece of romance, there.

And then there was Bang Bang. Oh, Bang Bang. Lovable and (mostly) mute pyro. That pretty much sums her up.

My only real complaint comes at the end of the movie. While most of it is spent as a romantic comedy, the ending carries with it a bit of a twist that is distinctly dark and sad—standing apart from the rest of the film. They even follow it up with an attempt at more happiness, but it feels like more of a brush off than an effective turn back to the earlier joys. Interesting route to take, and broke a bit of the generic-ness, but I can’t say I liked the disruption it put into the general flow of things. Also: the Russian mob boss almost seemed like a random place. I felt like there was something more to it, some part of the picture we’re not being given, and he, like the ending, marks a consistently darker shift in general tone with each appearance. It doesn’t seem to fit.

Watching Weisz trying to eat Brody’s face, though? Priceless. Someone needs to help them with that whole kissing thing.

Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

~ by Chris G. on February 20, 2010.

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