Friday, November 20, 2009

The Brothers Bloom

I did have a rather good selection of films on my journey back and to America. This is another film reviewed on a plane that I would have prefered to have seen on the ground. Directed by Ryan Johnson, the director of Brick, this is a con movie that is less about the con than the people (although isn't that always the way?). There was a lot of talk about similarities to Wes Anderson, and while some reviewers have distanced themselves from this notion, I can sort of see it. However, where Johnson succeeds and Anderson does not is in making his characters relatable.

This film can be very funny, with the strong female cast of Rachel Weisz as Penelope, who I don't think I've ever failed to enjoy watching on screen, and Rinko Kikuchi as the consistently hilarious Bang Bang. The tale follows our characters living out a fantasy. While the film is set in the modern world, its easy to forget it at some points, as the characters find themselves in trains that have escaped from the 30s.

There are flaws though. The cons that happen are a little too twisty for me: the ending is meant to have an emotional twist, and yet thanks to all thats come before you end up wondering if the assumptions the characters make are correct. The main flaw for me, though, is that I found Adrien Brody's character rather unrelatable. Brody plays a con man who has become disaffected, but I get the feeling he always was. I never got the feeling that he was a great con man, who was crying on the inside, because he spent most of the film listless and complaining. He always seemed utterly reluctant, which made it unclear as to why he kept going along with his brother's schemes.

Still, an enjoyable fantasy, with some great performances. I would happily see this one again. I suspect that without a weight of expectation I might find the experience more agreeable (and I probably won't be on a plane at the time!)

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