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brothers bloom
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The Brothers Bloom

Starring Rachel Weisz, Adrien Brody, Mark Ruffalo, Rinko Kikuchi with Maximilian Schell and Robbie Coltrane
Written and Directed by Rian Johnson
website: http://www.brothersbloom.com/

IN SHORT: Feh. [Rated PG-13 for violence, some sensuality and brief strong language. 113 minutes]

Stephen Bloom (Max Records) and his younger brother, who spends his life called by his surname, "Bloom" (Zachary Gordon), were orphaned as single digit kidlets. The foster system didn't exactly provide anything resembling a warm and fuzzy "normal" family existence. In response, the pair do the brotherly bonding thing by running cons on their friends and, once those ran out, random strangers, since "Bloom" was ten and Stephen was thirteen. Years down the line, Stephen (Mark Ruffalo) continues to concoct the stories on which to base these games while Bloom (Adrien Brody) wants a life of his own. A life free of his brother's schemes and full of "real" adventure. But Bloom loves his brother and later in life, when they've essentially retired from the game a new, outrageously wealthy mark appears. Said mark is Penelope (Rachel Weisz), a beyond fabulously wealthy pretty young thing who has been isolated in her New Jersey mansion for years and years due to biological problems and allergies -- turns out she was allergic to the aluminum in the testing needles {!} -- and the best con men in the world prepare to unleash their grand masterpiece of whatever it is they do.

Stephen outdoes  himself in setting up the score. By the time it is done, the mark -- Penelope --will have been told that the brothers Bloom are out and out con men and that she is the target of their game, Having been in isolation for nearly her entire life, this is the most exciting thing Penelope has ever experienced so she buys into the scheme as a million dollar partner -- the million dollars being the amount the brothers Bloom were aiming to walk away with at the end of the con. Penelope's admission to the game, as a full partner, means expanding the adventure and, by the time this twist has turned the younger Bloom will have crossed the line and broken Rule One of the confidence game: don't fall for the mark.

The Brothers Bloom has a story that goes dancing all over the globe, to the places rich folk like to do whatever it is rich people like to do. There is an evil mentor to the brothers nicknamed Diamond Dog (Maximilian Schell) who we are not even going to try to explain and the ever talented Ricky Jay is credited as the film's narrator. Just one thing, though . . .That alone, as simple as it reads, would have been enough to build a good, if not great, switcheroo slash con game movie upon. Depending on your age, there have been enough great ones (going back to The Sting for us) that, done right, they are all terrific sits.

When done wrong -- and this is one done horribly, terribly wrong -- all the lovely scenery and alleged locations in its world spanning mess of a story can't save the thing. That's why we haven't mentioned the role played by Rinko Kikuchi, a mute, Asian affiliate of the brothers called "Bang Bang" because we are at a loss to explain it.

Given that we saw the film in a screening room and are bound by professional rules not to squeak before release, we went trolling the Internet looking for the ever present loudmouth non-critics to check their reactions. (Those would be the guests that accompany critics to screenings as a professional courtesy. These are usually the film student types who don't live in the same world that you and I do). Apparently, if you recognize "constant nods to film classics of the 40s and 50s" and believe that writer/director Rian Johnson has given props to other creators (Wes Anderson, John Huston, the Coen Brothers and Billy Wilder are the four listed in an IMDB comment) perhaps to the detriment of telling a coherent story, which is our position, you'll have a good time.

Everyone else?

On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Ten Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to The Brothers Bloom, he would have paid . . .


what a bloody waste of time, money and personal energy.The Brothers Bloom is one big, floppy, incomprehensible story that had the critics in the screening room giggling at its awful-ness.

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