A bit of Sunshine above the dreck
Trevor Dawson | Eugene, Or | 08/06/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"For all people who love the beauty of awkwardness and a wonderful dialogue between characters, this movie is for you. The humor and charm of the first half of the film is only made more enjoyable by the heartfelt latter half. Enchanting performances by all particularly the short appearances of The Brothers in their youth, though Brody, Weiss, Ruffalo, and Kikuchi all deserve acclaim.
For some reason movie critics tanked this gem, but the people who went to see it tend toward rave review. Perhaps the critics weren't paid for a positive opinion in a timely manner, or maybe they just can't let themselves enjoy a piece of cinema that isn't some crappy Hollywood remake. See with friends, and I hope you enjoy it as I did."
"The best con is one in which everyone gets what they want"
Nathan Beauchamp | Oak Park, IL USA | 11/25/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Whimsical, sentimental, colorful, and both funny and awkward, THE BROTHERS BLOOM is original in its context and characters even if the plot itself is relatively predictable. The tale of two brothers who learn at an early age their skill at pulling off confidence schemes (all in the film's well designed and funny first 10 minutes). They continue to run cons into their early thirties when Bloom (Brody), the younger of the two, is faced with a bit of a quarter-life-crisis and decides to quit conning alongside his older brother Stephen (Mark Ruffalo). Of course he returns on the premise of helping Stephen carry off 'one last job,' the most glaringly cliched element in the entire film. All is forgiven however as the cast of characters unfolds, and director Rian Johnson rolls out more story arc. We meet Bang Bang (Rinko Kikuchi), a semi-mute Asian woman with a penchant for blowing things to pieces and Penelope Stamp (Rachel Weisz), a billionaire heiress & collector of strange hobbies. Weisz is convincingly awkward, funny, intelligent, and ultimately lovable. Weisz, Brody, and Ruffalo give good performances but are still all outclassed by Rinko Kikuchi's portrayal of Bang Bang. She communicates much with few to no words. She is the master of the subtle facial expression and she singlehandedly raised this film from 3 stars to 4 for this viewer.
Rian Johnson's directorial style resembles Wes Anderson's, but with more of a penchant for sweetness. THE BROTHERS BLOOM is littered with sentimental twists, moments, and visuals. Johnson's craft is still developing, with his this, his sophomore effort, falling slightly short of his wonderful first film Brick. The gentle goodnaturedness of the film is surprisingly refreshing in a movie marketplace littered with grit, angst, and cynicism. I think this is why the film scored so poorly with paid reviewers; they were too afraid of seeming soft by liking the movie and being branded as 'sentimental.' The film has a sweetness to it that may turn off some viewers, but to me is was a nice change of pace from the typical Hollywood offering.
As the film progresses it does a decent enough job of not revealing too much and providing the viewer a plausible suspension of disbelief. There are a few moments that don't ring true (the first encounter with Diamond Dog at the bar for example--actually I didn't like the Diamond Dog character at all and thought he was superfluous to the plot and movie as a whole) but they are few and far between. My strongest criticism of the film is that Johnson, Brody, and the rest of the cast know how clever certain elements of the film are, and they let the audience know that they know. Clever is fine, but I don't need to be reminded every ten minutes that the movie is oh so smart. Another confusing plot element is Penelope's seeming inability to drive a sports car--this from a woman who has mastered more than a few difficult hobbies including pinhole photography and martial arts!
Overall this is a very enjoyable movie if you appreciate warmth in film. It's sentimental. It's bright and fun and intelligent. Viewers who prefer their cinema to be dark and brooding should probably skip this one and watch Mystic River or The Dark Knight instead. However, if you loved The Life Aquatic you'll probably love THE BROTHERS BLOOM.
4/5 Stars. Well worth renting or even owning."
PentopAnger | FL or VA | 09/13/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I found this to be an extremely good movie and just wanted to add a thought not mentioned by the other reviewers. Rachel Weisz does steal the show and I walked out of the theater smitten with the character she plays, but what moved me most about this film was the story of two close but very different brothers. If a person falls in with the wrong crowd in life, outgrowing them is a tough and painful thing. When the "wrong crowd" is your family, it is darn near impossible. The actors and director capture this perfectly. The highest purpose of art is to remind us that we are not alone and our sufferings are not unique. This movie spoke to me at that level while being funny and clever. I laughed, I cried, I found my brother's Christmas present."
Charming and incredible
C. Sawin | TX | 06/18/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Rian Johnson created a great modern day noir film (which was also his debut as a director) with Brick that was really enjoyable. When the word about The Brothers Bloom started making its rounds, it immediately reeled me in. Johnson's style in The Brothers Bloom seems to almost mimic Wes Anderson's at times as several scenes (especially the first ten minutes or so) have a similar feel that seem to be shot in the same way you'd see in an Anderson film. The film also has a Kiss Kiss Bang Bang feel to it with how colorful every shot is. The tone was similar in both films as they both had humor as an underlying tone amongst a dramatic adventure revolving around crime. This film is just a real pleasure to look at. The cinematography seems to tell a story all on its own as every shot seems to be done in a unique way and everything is so vividly colorful.
Every factor of the film is strong. The story isn't entirely original as we've all heard con men stories before, but the way the story unfolds and the development of the characters involved makes it a new experience. The dialogue is also top notch. Nothing stuck out as being cheesy or hokey. Every line spoken was either witty, charming, or something you'd expect to hear in everyday conversation. So it was realistic and natural. The entire cast has to be the film's strongest point though. There doesn't really seem to be a character that's wasted or isn't used to their full potential. Rachel Weisz does steal the show though. Her character is so charismatic, outgoing, and eccentric that she just steals every scene she's a part of.
The Brothers Bloom is one of the best films to be released this year, which is a shame since it seems to have a limited release. It offers something for everybody looking for a good time at the movies whether it's an adventure that will take them around the world, romance between two of the central characters, an oddball character that's great comedic relief, the development of both brothers as characters as their crime of swindling people as con men causes drama, and even plenty of explosions to satisfy the action junkie. The conclusion of the film is both heartwarming and heartbreaking, as well. The Brothers Bloom will probably be overlooked by the many assured blockbusters coming out this summer, but it comes highly recommended from me and should be on everyone's must see list."