Though THE BROTHERS BLOOM seems to be equal parts THE STING and THE ROYAL TENENBAUMS, director Rian Johnson's second feature is still strikingly original. Adrien Brody (KING KONG) and Mark Ruffalo (ZODIAC) star as the siblings of the title, who have been working as conmen since they were children. There is a constant tug of war between them, with Bloom (Brody) desperate to get out of the game, while his brother Stephen (Ruffalo) drags him back. Like so many other films, THE BROTHERS BLOOM hinges on "one last job;" here, it is to steal millions from lonely, bored heiress Penelope (Rachel Weisz, THE CONSTANT GARDENDER) while they pose as antique dealers. But Bloom falls in love with the charming Penelope, and the con gets even more complicated.
Johnson's directorial debut, BRICK, was a critically aclaimed exercise in style, and THE BROTHERS BLOOM proves to be even better crafted. In both its gorgeous aesthetic and its witty script, this is a film that is incredibly modern while it remains in the spirit of classic con films such as PAPER MOON. Director of photography Steve Yedlin is a wonder with camera angles and lighting, while costume designer Beatrix Aruna Pasztor perfectly creates a vintage-inspired wardrobe for the stars. With these visuals, it might be difficult for actors to stand out, but Johnson has assembled a fantastic cast that more than holds their own. His three leads are great together, and he gets wonderful supporting work from BABEL's Rinko Kikuchi as a nearly silent explosives expert and Harry Potter favorite Robbie Coltrane as a Belgian who may or may not be on their side (and, in fact, may or may not be Belgian). There are plenty of twists and turns on this road, but this fun film proves there's joy in the journey.
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