“Brothers” blooms, and then wilts before your eyes

by Cap'n Carrot on May 29, 2009 · 2 comments

in Film

brothers-bloomI really wanted to like The Brothers Bloom, and for 90 minutes I did. The film delivers laughs, genuinely interesting characters, a quirkiness not unlike that of Wes Anderson, and a satisfactory conclusion. Then the film continues for another 25 minutes moving far from the lightness and joyfulness of its earlier moments into a much more average action flick packed with questionable character choices, plot issues, and a far less satisfying ending.

Mark Ruffalo and Adrien Brody star as brothers who begin the life of the con as children. Stephen (Ruffalo) is the brains behind the operation writing roles for his brother, the shy Bloom (Brody). Sadly, it is only through these roles where Bloom gets the confidence to interact with other people, and truly feel alive. Though appreciative of his brother, who wants the best for him, Bloom’s resentment finally gets the better of him.

After years of working various marks with his brother and their silent sidekick Bang Bang (Rinko Kikuchi) Bloom is ready to quit and live the quiet life, that is until Stephen convinces him to partake in one last big score by swindling a beautiful, eccentric, reclusive heiress (Rachel Weisz) out of a few million dollars.

Putting aside the final act for the moment, there’s much here to enjoy. All three of the leads are terrific, the cons are well thought-out, and the plot even makes a few turns that you don’t quite expect. These are characters, and a story, you are happy to spend a couple of hours with.

That’s what makes the film’s conclusion all that more disappointing. On a strictly theoretical level I can see how a writer/director may want to try and slowly mutate a fairy tale into a more brutal dramatic story. However, in the case of The Brothers Bloom the result left me unsatisfied, and even began to hurt my appreciation of the parts of the film I really enjoyed.

After its release was pushed back several times (the film was original set to hit theaters in April of last year) it’s good that the film is finally finding its way to theaters. Even with my reservations I’m still happy to recommend the film. My only advice would be to check your watch and think about leaving before the final act can disappoint.


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  • Just Plain Bob

    Egads! A scathing review, I must say.

    I can certainly agree with you that the ending was rather.. stilted? But looking back, I think it fit with the progression of the story. The brothers were awkward people with an unspoken but ponderous bond, and it showed through at every other stage of the story, so an awkward, quiet, ponderous ending (while less satisfying) capped it off properly.

    Also: Bang Bang was probably my favorite character. I absolutely loved her relationship with Penelope, and the things they learned from each other. (You teach me origami, I teach you demolitions. Priceless.)

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