Four years ago, Rian Johnson debuted with the excellent modern day highschool noir film Brick. Now he returns with The Brothers Bloom, where once again he handles both the writing and directing duties.
The Brothers Bloom is about two brothers where, strangely, only one of them is called Bloom. The other guy is called Stephen. Unless their names are Bloom Bloom and Steve Bloom, I’m not sure I got why they are known as The Bloom Brothers. I think its one of those indy movie quirks. It makes even less sense since Stephen is the outgoing one yet they’re known by the name of the introverted brother.
The brothers are lifelong con artists and decide to pull a con on the rich, lonely and quirky Penelope Stamp. From here, the films plays out as many con-artist films before it. You’re unsure who is playing who and there are a bunch of twists at the end where not every is who they seem.
Thematically, its not too disimilar to Brick. The writing is quirky yet enjoyable and there are some great characters. I felt that Johnson does about three too many twists at the mega-quadruple-trick-finale but thats just me. I think the film reaches a point where I found Penelope to be the most fun and endearing character and where I was wanting more scenes with her, the film closes with a significantly greater focus on the relationship between the two brothers.
I think I’ve got a pretty good feel for the films Johnson makes now. I’ll be pretty happy if he keeps pumping out these oddball films with characters who talk in snappy filmspeak and have ulterior motives revealed at the end of the film. Its pretty goood. Not as good as Brick, but maybe thats because his style seemed newer then.