Day One IFF Boston– The Brothers Bloom

I’m 35. I’ve only lived life through roles written for me by you. I want an unwritten life. No more stories.
–Bloom

Mexico is—and I don’t like to vilify an entire country—but Mexico’s a horrible place.
–Stephen

The Brothers Bloom, written and directed by Rian Johnson [Brick], is a refreshing, surprising and unique comedy. The Brothers Bloom is quirky and clever, with many hysterical moments. The film centers around two brothers who spent their youth in and out of foster homes. Stephen [Mark Ruffalo] and Bloom [Adrien Brody] adapted to new situations by becoming quick on their feet and creating various characters in order to blend in and to get what they wanted or needed at the time. As adults, the two brothers now jet set around the world as notorious con artists. Stephen devises the master plan, weaves the stories and creates the characters to dupe millionaires out of their money. [It is hysterical to see his blueprints of the plans. The style has not changed from his childhood to present day.] Bloom has the task to befriend the mark. He’s quiet and disarming. Genuine and charming.

The brothers decide to embark on one last job. The target: an eccentric heiress in New Jersey, Penelope (Rachel Weisz), and Stephen knows that she will be an easy target.

Stephen remains the mastermind. He acts and controls. He and Bloom have a complex relationship as Stephen is the older brother and the stronger-willed one. Bloom is overly sensitive and caring. Sometimes too much so in their chosen field of work.

Introverted Bloom worries and analyzes everything while Penelope, suddenly free to explore the world, is a ray of sunshine, smiling her way through any situation. She turns out to be an asset instead of a mark. Bloom falls in love with her, definitely not part of Stephen’s plans. But how could he not? She’s beautiful, smart, charming and delightful. They perfectly balance each other’s personalities.

Each character seems stuck. Stephen does not want to give up the game, the planning, and the con. Bloom cannot tear himself away from Stephen and what Stephen wants him to do. He cannot make his own decisions that will make him truly happy. Penelope’s privileged background keeps her from living a full life and her own life.

A snappy script with twisty moments and action-packed scenes makes The Brothers Bloom an outstanding film.

Grade: A-

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