So, my last couple posts are about to all link up thanks to a certain fluffy-headed actor:
Yeah so, the quote on the banner is from Just Like Heaven, with Mark Ruffalo and the other day I commented on his confusing, scruffy adorableness, and then yesterday made the observation that it seemed like everyone and their Aunt Sally was reviewing The Kids Are All Right (No, still haven't seen it), which of course has Mark Ruffles-O. So now I pull the Ruffalo hat trick with my review of The Brothers Bloom:
So The Brothers Bloom tells the story of two brothers (durr), one named Stephen (Mark Ruffalo) and one named Bloom (Adrien Brody) (which I guess makes them Stephen Bloom and ...Bloom Bloom?)
Anywhoo, Stephen and Bloom show from a young age a skill at con games. Stephen creates elaborate, fantastical stories as they dupe their mark, and Bloom wins their trust with his Bloominess. Also Stephen has a not-quite-girlfriend-not-quite-sidekick named Bang Bang, an Asian chick in charge of demolitions who speaks maybe three words the whole movie. Stephen gets a mad charge out of conning people and creating fake adventures for him and his brother but Bloom is tired of having his life written out for him by Stephen. He feels like he has no identity except for the ones Stephen's written for him. He is a class-A moper.
Before he quits, Stephen convinces Bloom to do one last con with him (don't they always), tricking the bored, lonely and fairly awkward heiress Penelope (Rachel Weisz) out a sizable chunk of cash by way of a manufactured whirlwind adventure. Bloom immediately falls for Penelope, who is a bit weird and also knows how to juggle chainsaws, make pinhole cameras and anything else the plot requires her to know. And so the adventure begins, taking the gang through picturesque bits of Europe as they con Penelope and occasionally escape some unforeseen adventures. The movie takes place in a weird sort of world that is obviously supposed to be modern day but has a very thirties/forties kind of vibe to it, largely due to everyone's clothes, which are FREAKING RAD.
So, as is the nature of the con movie, the audience and Bloom spend much of the movie getting muddled in what's a con and what's real. Is Stephen giving Bloom the ultimate con? Why would he? Who all is in on it? And did their creepy con-mentor called Diamond Dog who keeps popping up ever molest Bloom?
At times it kind of devolves into a mess where you don't know what's for real and what's just a con job and not in the good sense but in the "losing focus on the story because you're too focused on who's telling the truth and who's a lying butt" way. What saves it are the characters and their connections. Ruffalo and Brody are totally believable as brothers, you can feel Stephen's love for Bloom but they also fight and bitch at each other like siblings too. Equally strong is Bloom and Penelope's budding romance. They have the chemistry of a pair of awkward oddballs who know they've found someone like them. Also Bang Bang (Rinko Kikuchi) is hilarious. Without saying anything, Kikuchi has fantastic comedic timing and just brilliantly funny body language. She and Mark Ruffalo play off each other perfectly and with a casualness that indicates years of working together on jobs.
The end has a twist you see coming, but the whole picture does take a bit of working out as the credits roll. Overall it's a very sweet, funny and (dammit) quirky movie with intensely likable characters, wacky antics and a bittersweet ending that I really liked. It's not for everyone, a lot of critics took shots at it for being too stylized, too sweet and too unrealistic but I dug the hell out of it and if this kind of movie is your thing, you prolly will too. Three and a half catapults out five. Now somebody get me a con-artist hat!!
Random trivia: near the beginning of this movie, there's a big crowd scene in a bar and the camera pans really quickly past a bunch of people. I noticed one of them was a dead ringer for Joseph Gordon-Levitt and got all excited thinking he was gonna do a cameo thing. But you never see the guy again and I figured it was just some dude who looked like JGL but then, in the trivia section of IMDB there is in fact a credit for the random, wordless cameo of Joseph Gordon-Levitt, which, while weird and unexplained, means my JGL senses have yet to fail me!!
On that note, good night!
Penelope: (To Bloom) "I think you're constipated, in your fucking soul...I think you might have a really big load of grumpy petrified poop up your soul's ass"