Movie Review: The Brothers Bloom

Movie Review: The Brothers Bloom


The Brothers Bloom

Rating: ★★★★½ 

Directed By: Rian Johnson

Starring: Adrien Brody, Mark Ruffalo, Rachel Weisz, Rinko Kikuchi


All their lives, brothers Stephen (Mark Ruffalo) and Bloom (Adrien Brody) have perfected the fine art of the con.  Now they’re ready for one last spectacular score – luring Penelope (Rachel Weisz), an eccentric heiress, into an elaborate scheme that takes them around the world.


While “cookie cutter” stories are littering Hollywood and the current box office, many original and memorable movies are being tossed into minimal theatrical releases and horribly thought out DVD/Blu Ray releases.  Case in point: if you want to own the wonderfully original and quirky film The Brothers Bloom, you’ll have to either steal it from a local video rental establishment (not recommended!), or buy it from our Canadian neighbors (I chose the latter).  Or, just wait until January for the U. S. release and rent it numerous times until then.  Either way, The Brothers Bloom is a film that needs to be seen.


Writer/Director, Rian Johnson is on my short list of best up-and-coming directors.  His debut film, Brick was also an under-seen yet brilliant piece of work.  Rian Johnson has a knack for writing characters and stories that stay with you long after the film is over.  Following up Brick with The Brothers Bloom, Rian Johnson has shown us he likes to challenge himself and improve his craft with each film.

The Brothers Bloom is a story about the relationship between brothers.  It comes across to me personally as the most intimate look I’ve seen in film, at the complex relationship brothers can have.  Although, Adrien Brody and Mark Ruffalo look nothing at all like brothers, what sells it is their interactions throughout the film.  At first I was a bit worried that I’d believe these two to be brothers.  However, early on all that subsided as their characters began to be fleshed out on screen.

Complementing the brothers are Rachel Weisz as an eccentric shut in named Penelope and Rinko Kikuchi in a brilliant role with virtually no dialog as Bang Bang.  Both women are the charm of the movie and were cast perfectly.  I can now say that my favorite Rachel Weisz role ever is Penelope.  She portrays someone who is eccentric, but at the same time very innocent.  She is the backbone for the film and anchors the plot more than even the Brothers.

The Brothers Bloom is nearly a perfect film.  It’s easily one of my favorites of the year.  My only problem with the film were some tonal shifts from absurdist comedy to some dramatic set pieces.  While both tones of the film work on their own right, once the film shifts to more of a drama I think some of the weight isn’t there because of earlier comedic pitches.  However, upon a second viewing the third act shift is less noticeable.

With only two films under his belt, Rian Johnson has earned his place as a writer and director to watch.  He’s wholly original and his films bear a quality not seen in mainstream movies today.  There’s an honesty to both Brick and The Brothers Bloom that I hope will inspire future filmmakers and will hopefully put Rian Johnson on the map as one of this centuries premiere filmmakers.

Rated PG-13 for violence, some sensuality and brief strong language.

Preorder from Amazon (US), buy from Amazon Canada, or rent from Netflix.