Director: Ryan Johnson
Screenplay: Ryan Johnson
Principal cast: Adrien Broday, Mark Ruffalo, Rachel Weisz, Rinko Kikuchi with Robbie Coltrane and Maximilian Schell.
Release date: 4 June 2010 (On general release).
Orphaned at a young age the Bloom brothers develop into an adept pair of con-men targeting wealthy individuals whilst living on the edge. When elder brother Stephen (Ruffalo) targets the wealthy but socially inept Penelope (Weisz), it is up to the younger brother (Broday) to provide the fake romance and charm. The two brothers pose as rogue antique smugglers whisking Penelope away across Europe on a trail of fictional smuggling deals aimed at conning her out of her inheritance.
However, elder brother Bloom does not count on the emerging chemistry developing between the heiress and his sibling, whilst the return of an old mentor from the past provides danger for the brothers.
The Brother Blooms is a film teeming with ideas and a desire to be overtly quirky and sometimes surreal; it follows in the recent tradition of offbeat comedy/dramas provided by Wes Anderson and television serials such as the sorely missed Pushing Daises.
Following a charming initial prologue explaining the origin to the brothers, the initial feel of the film is that Johnson is trying too hard to be oddball with moments of enforced kookiness.
However, after the initial set-up of the con the film finds a natural rhythm and a classy comedy escapade ensures.
At the heart of the film is the troubled but strong bond between the brothers, with Ruffalo excellent as the schemer with a constant look out for a job. Broday effectively reprises the role he portrayed in The Darjeeling Limited (2007) as the troubled, somewhat reluctant younger sibling at odds with the world.
Weisz is excellent as the extremely dippy Penelope providing kookiness and repressed sexuality, whilst Robbie Coltrane’s cameo as a Belgium curator/con-man (complete with hammy accent) is extremely engaging.
The star turn comes from Maximilian Schell as the brilliantly named Diamond Dog, a Fagan type mentor from the brothers past. Complete with purring voice and eye patch he represents a dangerous presence to the brothers during the latter part of the film.
Indeed, as the film heads towards it final act in St. Petersburg the mood changes from comedy to drama as tensions arise and Diamond Dog (complete with Russian hit men) enters the fray.
Ultimately, with twist following con in a repeated circle the film will have you guessing at Stephen’s motives right to the end.
After an initially unbalanced post credit twenty minutes The Brothers Bloom settles into a sharp, witty and eccentric caper complete with an emotionally charged ending. If you fancy a change from the weekly droll of Hollywood popcorn you could no harm in checking out this fine oddity.