I was beyond excited when I first saw the preview for The Brothers Bloom. A confidence man movie staring Ruffalo & Weisz? Hook, line and sinker baby! When I ventured to the official web site to learn when such brilliance would be playing at the local cineplex I discovered they were premiering the first seven minutes of the film! I immediately took to the interweb to find a theater near me cool enough to show such a jem. Imagine my disappointment when first the movie was showing only in limited release, then in limited wide release, only to be followed by wide release – but only in select cities. Oridinarly in such a post this is where I would declare “that sucks”, but no. The Brothers Bloom eventualy made it to a theater near me and, unfortunately, The Brothers Bloom fails to blossom past romance. That, my confidence man, sucks.
The Good: Rachel Weisz’s character has just enough quirk not to be annoying. Penelope’s naiveness seems plausable given her “house arrest” as a child, and her sense of adventure is both endearing and authentic. A nice balance is created between Penelope’s childlike innocence and Rinko Kikuchi’s more elusive/psychopathic character, Bang Bang (which,oddly enough, is now my nickname). I was green with envy as they became friends and the new odd couple throughout the movie. I couldn’t decide if I wanted to be them or just hang out with them.
The romance (both fake and real) between Bloom, played by Adrien Brody, and Penelope felt effortless and organic. You see it coming a million miles away, but you are still excited and a flutter as you watch their love evolve on screen. In addition to providing hope for all quirky alone’s in the world, Penelope has granted us with one of the best pick up lines ever: “So where’s this boat going?”. Trust me, it works.
The Bad: The tango on the boat. I’m sure it was fun for the cast and the crew, but it did little to add to the montage not 15 minutes before where we hear and see all the hobbies Penelope has collected over the years. It also did little for the development of either character or the relationship. I’m still scratching my head at the symbolism the director/screen writer felt was going on.
Mark Ruffalo’s character Stephen was not flushed out enough. Had the movie only been about Bloom’s desire to leave the con it would be ok, but the movie tried too hard to be too many things. This is one time where taking the complexities out of the con man story would have worked better. The twists and turns felt clunky and projected, the cons too elaborate to be real, and the pay offs too easy. Having the lingo, the looks and the card tricks does not a con man movie make.
And the thing that sucks the most of all? We never find out how Penelope got out of the pickle of a prediciment she found herself in during her first con! Tie up loose ends people!
Final Vote: See the movie when/where you can for some romance and quirk,but not for con. Or you my friend may just get swindled.
For more on our take on The Brothers Bloom check out J1’s Review in Haiku here.