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The Brothers Bloom

Released: 2008

Genre: Comedy

Runtime: 1 hr 49 min

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Director: Rian Johnson

Starring: Mark Ruffalo, Rachel Weisz, Adrien Brody

A tale of con artists as siblings and siblings as con artists. Directed by Rian Johnson (Brick).

"The Brothers Bloom" Bombs.

Review by: MiamiMovieCritic

Added: 8 years ago

Has there ever been a movie more self-aware or self-amused than The Brothers Bloom? This is a movie that practically winks at itself. Characters pause in mid-sentence to discuss the implausibility of a situation, so we know they know they're being conned. The movie itself is a con. The filmmakers have deluded themselves into thinking they've made a good movie.

What a letdown. This is writer-director Rian Johnson's follow-up to Brick, a completely original film about a high school murder mystery. In that film, the characters spoke like they were in a film noir (the sexiest one EVER), and the plot was a twisty thing of beauty.

The Brothers Bloom withers in comparison. It concerns two brothers (awkwardly played by the usually great Adrien Brody and Mark Ruffalo), who grow up to be the greatest con artists in the world. The first 10 minutes are like a bad Wes Anderson movie, as we see the brothers shuffling between foster homes and developing their interest in girls and con games. The last 90 minutes are also like a bad Wes Anderson movie, as the brothers attempt to rip off an eccentric millionaire (Rachel Weitz). This involves boat trips to Europe and South America and, for no reason, Maximilian Schell in a ridiculous pirate costume.

I was really excited about this movie around this time last year, but then the release date got pushed back six months, usually a sign that a movie is a disaster. It pretty much is. Not a single joke works. I don't care how clever it is. If the audience sits there in stoned silence for two hours, then the filmmakers have failed. The characters are merely constructions and impossible to care about. Some will say Rinko Kikuchi steals the film, but I thought she was playing a stereotype. Why are Western screenwriters so afraid to write dialogue for Asian women? Do they not know how Asians talk? If so, they should go outside and talk to some.

I hope Johnson has gotten this twee bullshit out of his system so he can go back to making good movies. The Brothers Bloom is the ultimate sophomore slump and, along with Gregor Jordan's The Informers, one of the worst movies of 2009.