The Brothers Bloom (2008) Directed by Rian Johnson

Car boot sale. I picked up The Brothers Bloom at a sale in someone's back yard. 2e. I've had some bargains over the years (especially some incredibly rare vinyl) and I love the idea of rummaging through people's cast-offs. Unfortunately, other people's cast-offs is an apt description for The Brothers Bloom. It's well made, but we've been here before.

This could be a homage to the cinema of Wes Anderson or even PT Anderson. Yes, The Brothers Bloom looks amazing, everything is stylized (in a 1960's way), costume exquisite, casting great. Script? This is the problem, there is a level of wackiness and smart arsed knowing to The Brothers Bloom that is off putting.  You can drown in the great visual opulence on screen, but It's vacuous too.
All the principles are good, Adrien Brody, Rachel Weisz, Mark Ruffalo and Rinko Kikuchi. This film about confidence tricksters actually plays a good one by making you think you're watching something emotionally engaging. You're not.

Still, I can really admire Brody. What a strange looking man, yet beautiful. At the end, where there is the possibility of love, I almost felt a twinge of something. It was nostalgia. I was hoping The Brothers Bloom was some other picture and I could drown in the possibilities. On some other day, in some other mood, this might work. Right now, it feels like a waste.

Last weekend was funny: I suddenly found myself living with two magicians. Both equally bad and both equally enthusiastic about their new and fabulous tricks. I was supposed to play the part of the understanding audience member, who makes the magic work by believing in it. In fact I was the sole target of all this magic and I begged them to leave me alone until they would really learn something...

I'm usually very encouraging, but sometimes you have to be brutally honest to save untalented people from wasting their time on something they will never figure out. Do I really think so? Surely you can learn anything if you put your mind and time to it? The Brothers Bloom has characters that suggest so. It is the story of two con artists. They have made their living through elaborate chains of lies followed by well-timed actions. They are masters at making something look like something that it is not. In the process they have lost themselves. Rachel Weisz plays an eccentric millionaire who passes her time mastering different hobbies all by herself. When she becomes the target of the Bloom brothers, she unravels them in their own game. Love is the antidote to being lost.

The Brothers Bloom
is at times an uncomfortable mixture of fairytale, psychoanalyzing, stylish looks, lazy narrating and great actors breezing through various sets in various countries. A quivering naivety persists with a few joyous results, like when Penelope (Weisz) tells the younger Bloom (Adrian Brody) to live life as if the most fantastic story ever told. Then again, it is a little sad in cinema these days, when something that could easily be done visually (that's why it is cinema, right) is only blurted out in lines.


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