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Friday, May 22, 2009

The Brothers Bloom Review

The Brothers Bloom - An E1 Films Release


(And for a real feel of the style of this movie, neat facts, lost artwork, and 5 music tracks, see here:) http://www.brothersbloom.com/meetthebrothers/

(See the director's forum here:) http://www.rcjohnso.com/forum/index.php

(And see what the director is saying here:) http://brothersbloom.tumblr.com/

And if you're interested in more, please just use Google, or something. I really can't link to everything.

Release Date: May 22nd, 2009

Rated PG-13 for violence, some sensuality and brief strong language

Running time: 113 minutes

Rian Johnson (dir.)

Rian Johnson (writer)

Nathan Johnson (music)

Rachel Weisz as Penelope Stamp

Adrien Brody as Bloom

Mark Ruffalo as Stephen

Rinko Kikuchi as Bang Bang

Robbie Coltrane as The Curator

Maximilian Schell as Diamond Dog

Ricky Jay as Narrator

Zachary Gordon as Young Bloom

Max Records as Young Stephen

Andy Nyman as Charleston

ADRIEN BRODY (left) RACHEL WEISZ (center) and MARK RUFFALO (right) star in the adventure comedy THE BROTHERS BLOOM, an E1 Films release. .jpg

Our reviews below:


The Brothers Bloom Review By John C.

**** (out of 4)

There has always been much talk as to what makes a great movie. Well, sometimes you just know. As is the case with The Brothers Bloom. Part madcap comedy, part exciting action film, and all fun, The Brothers Bloom may end up being the best and most entertaining live-action film to come out this summer.

The film follows the story of two brothers. We first meet them as young kids in an opening prologue, that reminded of Spy Kids. We see the two boys, Stephen and Bloom (Max Records and Zachary Gordon), in black coats and hats pulling off their first con. Than we cut to 20 years later, where now they are the infamous Brothers Bloom. I should probably also mention that the brothers are also always aided by a pyrotechnics master who barely speaks a word of English and goes by the name of “Bang Bang”.

Stephen (Mark Ruffalo) sees his life as a story and writes the script for him and his brother Bloom (Adrien Brody). For him there is never a miscalculated step. Bloom has gotten tired of the whole thing, but will assist his brother in what he promises will be their last job.

This is where we meet Penelope (brilliantly played by Rachel Weisz), a lonely millionaire. When Penelope's wishes to help out with whatever the Brothers are doing and real romantic feelings get in the way, it sets into motion a brilliant little film that is full of twists, turns and surprises.

The Brothers Bloom snaps, crackles and pops it’s way to an exciting and surprisingly emotionally resonant grand finale, that leaves us mildly puzzled, but extremely pleased. This is the best movie I have seen so far this year. I can only hope that this film finds an audience amidst the big summer blockbusters, because it’s certainly just as good, if not better.


The Brothers Bloom Review By Erin V.

**** (out of 4)

The Brothers Bloom is one of those fun movies that exceeds your expectations and is all that you hope it will turn out to be.

The movie begins with a brilliant 7 minute opening, which takes place when Stephen and Bloom - the two main characters - are kids. (You can view this scene here on Apple Trailers.) This is where it all began - their first con - set up by Stephen, and performed by Bloom. Flash forward 20 years or so, and we see where they are around now. Stephen is as into the con artist life as ever, while Bloom wants to no longer be the actor in his brother’s stories. He would rather live, as he puts it, an unwritten life. Stephen insist that they should do one more con together, and that this one will be perfect. Bloom reluctantly agrees, and the intriguing part of the story really begins.

The acting in this movie is all spot on, and great fun to watch. Mark Ruffalo plays Stephen, Adrien Brody is Bloom, Rinko Kikuchi is Ling-Ling, (or Bang-Bang), and Rachel Weisz is absolutely amazing as Penelope. The music has a great fun feel to it, and with the way the dialogue is written, I hope that the script gets awards recognition. This is a film that is so much fun to watch, all the while keeping you attached to these characters and really allowing you to feel what they are going through. Each with their own personalities, this group of characters are loads of fun to watch on screen. Another thing I will say is that the way the movie plays out is almost inevitable, (watch the movie to see what I mean), but you almost want to imagine the ideals as the characters would. In this way, it is written so that you can actually get it from their perspectives perfectly.

There have been so many great movies coming out recently, many of them from festivals. But this one stands apart from even those. This is a movie that you don’t want to miss. It is a film that will make for a fun time at the movies, but if you do miss it, be sure to get the DVD when it comes out. This is a superb work of genius, with a great classic feel to it - I am recommending The Brothers Bloom all the way!


The Brothers Bloom Review By Nicole

**** (out of 4)

The Brothers Bloom tells the exciting and often funny story about two brothers who are con artists. We first see the pair as children whose mischievous antics prevent them from staying in any foster home for too long. The older brother, Stephen, gets his younger brother, Bloom, to work with him on their first con together.

Flash forward nearly 20 years, and we see the brothers, now adults, who are still cons. Stephen is still the boss, and still works with his brother. Stephen wants to pull off the “perfect con,” and sets his brother up with a loveably quirky “hobby collector” named Penelope. Stephen tells Bloom that he is to con Penelope, so he cannot fall in love with her. However, on a series of exciting and fun adventures in con art, Bloom can not help but fall in love with this wonderfully eccentric woman.

The Brothers Bloom is an interesting, exciting, and often fun movie. Stephen’s girlfriend, a Japanese woman nicknamed “Bang Bang,” (due to her job of blowing stuff up), is really funny, reminiscent of Rico the penguin in the Madagascar movies. Penelope is also funny in her lovable eccentricity, and hobby collecting. All the acting in this film is superb, and the score by Nathan Johnson really captures the mood of the film. Part of the film is sad, and a bit violent, but inevitable. It’s not too graphic, and you know when it is coming. However, The Brothers Bloom is in no way a hard film to watch. This is one movie that you should definitely go out and see. The Brothers Bloom is one summer movie you don’t want to miss.


The Brothers Bloom Review By Maureen

**** (out of 4)

I absolutely loved The Brothers Bloom. This has to be one of my favorite movies so far in 2009. Just about everything in this movie worked for me, the acting, the storyline, the music score all with just the right mix of action and comedy.

This is the story of two brothers, Stephen and Bloom who have been con artists since their childhood years in foster care. The movie catches up with them twenty years later wanting to pull off one last con involving a rich eccentric young woman named Penelope who collects hobbies to keep herself busy. So when she thinks the brothers are antique smugglers and con artists she also wants to take up those professions. Penelope is played brilliantly by Rachel Weisz. Some of the best comedic moments in this film involve Penelope.

As they did in their childhood, older brother Stephen would write out a detailed plan for their capers with younger brother Bloom following his brother’s plan as directed.

Things start to get complicated when Bloom (played broodingly well by Oscar winner Adrien Brody) develops feelings for Penelope. It is then that Bloom tells his brother he wants an unwritten life, with no more stories and wants out of the family business. Stephen persuades Bloom to continue on with their plans though deep down he wants what’s best for Bloom. By the end of the movie there is no question Stephen loves his younger brother and would do anything for him.

Stephen is nicely played by Mark Ruffalo. Stephen’s female sidekick - BangBang/Ling Ling (Rinko Kikuchi) is also really fun to watch.

The Brothers Bloom is an intelligent, very funny movie. While it isn’t something you would bring the kids to, adults who like a good mix of intrigue, comedy and romance will appreciate this one.

I can’t wait to see The Brothers Bloom again on DVD. I suspect I’ll get even more out of it on subsequent viewing.

Check this one out. This isn’t a con. It really is good.


The Brothers Bloom Review By Tony

**** (out of 4)

When was the last time you saw a movie that you immediately knew would be one of your all-time favourites? For me it was Slumdog Millionaire–until now. Arguably, in hindsight, The Brothers Bloom has plot elements in common with the former film, despite the obvious differences.

In a prologue before the opening credits, we see the orphaned brothers Stephen and Bloom, at 13 and 10 years of age respectively, becoming increasingly alienated as they are moved from one foster home to another. Stephen realizes the only way they will thrive is by conning “marks” in elaborate schemes that he draws up on handwritten flowcharts.

For 25 years, Bloom (Adrien Brody) followed the scripted roles devised by his brother. Attempting to begin “an unwritten life”, Bloom has hidden himself away on a remote island in Montenegro. Stephen (Mark Ruffalo) finds him and persuades him to do one last con, which will be perfect because everyone will feel they got what they want. The brothers have on their team a mysterious blonde Japanese woman (Rinko Kikuchi), nicknamed “Bang Bang” for her prowess in pyrotechnics and demolition. Speaking almost no English, like the Madagascar penguin Rico she communicates effectively by gestures. Their mark is Penelope (Rachel Weisz), a quirky heiress who has lived all her life in a New Jersey mansion. Since her parents died, she has been a recluse, “collecting hobbies” learned from books, including the mastery of various stunts, languages, musical instruments, and card tricks. Prone to petit mal epileptic seizures, she regularly crashes her yellow Lamborghini. Posing as antique dealers, the brothers convince Penelope to join their team on various adventures, planning ultimately to persuade her to part with enough of her money so everyone is satisfied. Penelope is thrilled by the intrigue, and despite the con rule against emotional involvement with marks, Bloom and Penelope fall for each other. The plot is further complicated by two antagonists. “The Belgian” (Robbie Coltrane) is a rival antiquarian. “Diamond Dog” (Maximilian Schell), the brothers’ former mentor, has vowed revenge on them after a sabre duel with Stephen left him with an eyepatch.

Reveling in its absurdity, The Brothers Bloom allows us to just sit back and enjoy the ride, constantly guessing what is real and what is a con. The whole cast is excellent, obviously having enormous fun in their roles. Some interesting style elements are notable. Filmed mainly in Eastern Europe with a largely Serbian crew, the historic buildings, steam trains and classic costumes have a timeless quality. Despite gadgets like cell phones, we can be fooled at times into thinking we are back in the first half of the 20th century. For example in the prologue, the brothers looked traditionally Jewish in their black coats and hats. When the film then moved to Berlin 25 years later, I expected at first to see a ghetto and Nazis, like other recent holocaust films. Normally, a film’s musical score remains barely noticeable in the background. Here it adds to the fun, synchronized perfectly to the moods and actions on the screen in a largely eastern European style. One of my favorite moments is when the Belgian first appears, like the Third Man, out of the shadows.

With this film, director Rian Johnson has established himself as a master.


MARK RUFFALO (far left), RINKO KIKUCHI (left), ADRIEN BRODY (right) and RACHEL WEISZ (far right) star in the adventure comedy THE BROTHERS BLOOM, an E1 Films release.


Consensus: The Brothers Bloom is a movie that has a fun, yet not too silly feel at the same time. It is one that will probably become a classic, and you should go see in theatres. With excellent acting from it’s cast, and a fitting, fun score, this is a movie that is perfect to see to kick off the coming Summer months. **** (Out of 4)

Next week's reviews:
- Goodbye Solo
- Up

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