The Brothers Bloom is Rian Johnson’s colourful, energetic and enjoyable follow up to his 2005 debut, Brick. However the fans Johnson won with his debut will be divided over his latest effort, which stars Adrien Brody, Mark Ruffalo and the excellent Rachel Weisz.
The Brothers Bloom is the story of world’s greatest con men, who have made a living off of swindling millionaires with complex scenarios of lust and intrigue. The brothers team up with their silent partner and sidekick Bang-Bang (Rinko Kikuchi) for one last job, conning beautiful heiress Penelope (Weisz) by taking her on a tour of the world and relieving her of $2.5 million.
Despite the slick exterior, however, the film has some notable flaws. Whereas Brick was engaging and revealed Johnson’s sophisticated storytelling ability, The Brothers Bloom, although very well written, lacks the coherence of his first effort. Considering the potential of the film’s opening few scenes and the energy that is maintained throughout, the climax is something of a damp squid and lacks the dramatic finale it deserves. The endgame unravels rather than wraps up the story and is a somewhat hollow conclusion.
But it’s not all bad. Johnson should take praise for his astute storytelling and management of the theme of deception which works cleverly throughout, helped by the credible performance of Brody. In addition, Johnson opts for a highly stylized Wes Anderson-esque approach that works well with the story. The whimsical mise-en-scene and tight relationship of sound and image draw comparisons with The Life Aquatic and Royal Tenenbaums, and there is no doubting that The Brothers Bloom is an entertaining journey.
Weisz’s quirky and offbeat performance as the eccentric heiress Penelope is one of the film’s highlights, and another example of the British actress’ versatility. The well casted Weisz plays the offbeat Penelope with class and chic and is as glamorous as the sumptuous European cities that the story visits.
Although The Brothers Bloom lacks serious substance, its stylish and indulgent feel make it an entertaining ride. Given the promise that Brick showed, Johnson disappoints on some levels, but the story is solid and The Brothers Bloom will entice many an audience with its charms.