Synopsis: The brothers Bloom (Adrien Brody) and Stephen (Mark Ruffalo), two of the world’s most famous con men, set off on their final con, an eccentric heiress of some massive fortune named Penelope (Rachel Weisz). Bloom’s job is to make Penelope fall for him, and since she’s played by Rachel Weisz, he falls for her. Hilarity ensues in a variety of gorgeous locations like Prague. Did I mention that Prague is in this movie?
Recommended for: People who really like Prague, but don’t just want to see the post-communist East European backdrop that it always serves as in EVERY SINGLE MOVIE! There’s a reason why Prague is my favorite city in the whole wide world, and it is not the rampant drug abuse and vampire biting that goes on in the nightclubs of Prague. Correction: That’s not the only reason I like Prague, and it’s nice to actually see scenes that you can tell are most definitely Prague and not generic Eastern Europe! Also for people who enjoyed the general absurdity of works such as the Royal Tenenbaums, since I hear that this movie reminds some people of that particular movie. It would have reminded me of that movie too, but it’s been a long time since I’ve seen the Royal Tenenbaums. But this movie is pretty funny, too. Also for people who like touching stories about less-than-perfect brothers. Yeah, the brothers are con men, so you know they’ve got their issues. But it’s really nice in its own “please don’t con me out of massive sums of money that I could only dream of possessing” way.
Review: When I first heard about this movie, I thought it was some sort of parody of the Brothers Grimm (starring Matt Damon and Heath Ledger and Monica Bellucci), sort of like how there were two mall cop movies this year (seriously Hollywood?). But it turns out that the only thing similar about the two movies is there title. Which is unfortunate, considering that The Brothers Bloom was a far more satisfying movie than The Brothers Grimm (no offense to Heath Ledger, RIP).
For some reason, I happen to have enjoyed all the Adrien Brody movies that I’ve seen so far. The Pianist (which I didn’t find funny, and neither should you), King Kong (the creepy bug part nearly stopped my enjoyment because THEY KILLED SMEAGOL), The Darjeeling Limited (which was the movie that convinced me that traveling to India without a plan could be fun. Bad decision on my part), and now, The Brothers Bloom. I don’t know, there’s something about his choice of movies that I seem to enjoy. Just wanted to put that out there.
The movie is about two con men brothers, Bloom and Stephen. I still have no idea why the title is The Brothers Bloom. There is no indication that their surname is Bloom. That would be pretty odd. Bloom Bloom? Anyway, Bloom is sick of playing characters in his brother Stephen’s search for the perfect con, which is one where all the players involved get what they want. It seems impossible, but somehow they manage to do it in the end. I won’t tell you how, because that would take away half the fun. But oh my god, the sequence in Prague is glorious. I can say that because that’s far from the end. And it’s Prague.
Anyone who has spoken to me for even the briefest time about Europe will know how much I love Prague. I really appreciate the fact that a sizeable portion of this movie takes place in Prague (the good ol’ Old Town part of Prague) without having any silly fights between vampires and lycans or mobsters and such. The filmmakers really made an effort to show how beautiful Prague is, and unlike those other cities where the films try to make the city more charming than it actually is, I have to say that Prague is as awesome as the movie suggests, except for the fact that there aren’t any creepy one-eyed Russian guys hanging around. But the Prague sequence is enjoyable not just because it’s set in one of the most beautiful cities in the world, but it has some pretty hysterical scenes. Let’s just say, it’s always funny when explosions are bigger than they’re supposed to be.
The script is cleverly written, with a healthy helping of the absurdities that make other movies so popular among that particular population of moviegoers. Granted, it isn’t quite as clever as the Royal Tenenbaums, but it tries its best to be pretty darn intricate, with subtle clues and hints that come together in the end, satisfying those who were paying attention. It isn’t perfect (I would’ve loved to see some more of the creepy Russian mentor), but it is pretty enjoyable.
Plus it’s helped by the performances of some truly amazing characters. In particular, I absolutely loved Rachel Weisz’s performance as Penelope, the socially awkward heiress and collector of hobbies, as she puts it. If you watch the movie and don’t think to yourself, “Wow, she’s pretty stupid. I mean pretty and stupid,” there’s something terribly wrong with you. There is something endearing in the way she totals identical bright yellow Lambourghinis or dreams of becoming a con artiste while stealing bags of food from the dining car on trains. And there is something very disturbing about the way she…well, I’ll let you find out for yourself. No eccentric heiress is perfect, I guess. Some other great characters include the mute Bang Bang, an associate of the Bloom Brothers who managed to make me crack up despite her lack of dialogue. Also, she’s played by the Japanese girl from Babel, which was pretty interesting. I liked her in this movie better. I also didn’t like Babel. It was stupid. An honorable mention goes to the Curator (played by Valentin from the Pierce Brosnan Bond movies), a rather bizarre Belgian con man who just does crazy things. It’s pretty funny.
I could go on and on about the movie, but the bottom line is, I enjoyed it, and I hope you do too. It has great dialogue, great actors, and great locations (PRAGUE), and I haven’t even gone into the wonderful-to-listen score. Seriously, if you have the time on your hands, go watch it at a theater. But if you don’t, well, rent it when you have the time. You won’t be disappointed.
Alternative movies if you are looking for:
A crudely funny movie about less-than-perfect brothers: Brothers? How about Stepbrothers? This recent Will Ferrell comedy is about two middle-aged men who become stepbrothers because their respective single parents decide to get married. It’s Will Ferrell, so you know it has crude humor, and it’s Will Ferrell, so you know the brothers are less than perfect. But the movie will make you laugh, so watch it.
An adrenaline-pumping heist movie: As much fun as this movie is, it doesn’t quite deliver the heart-stopping thrill and action that a person could expect in a cleverly written film about two con men brothers. Actually, that person probably walked into the wrong theater. The Taking of Pelham 123 was in the theater next door, which may explain why some people in my theater were complaining about a lack of Denzel Washington. Not that any movie could possibly have enough Denzel. I didn’t know he was cast in The Brothers Bloom. Which he wasn’t. Anyway, the movie I would suggest is The Italian Job. As much fun as the Ocean’s trilogy is, anything you do in Las Vegas can’t really top Mini Cooper car chases. Unless you’re doing Mini Cooper car chases in Las Vegas. Wait… Ocean’s Fourteen, anyone?
A romantic comedy: Well, I guess this movie is about two people who fall in love, and it’s really funny, so I guess you could consider it a romantic comedy? But if this movie hasn’t satisfied your romantic comedy needs, then seriously, watch He’s Just Not That Into You. You’ll never want to watch a romcom again. Or live, for that matter.