Billy Soistmann

Review: The Brothers Bloom

In 2009, Caper/Heist, Character-Driven, Comedy, Noir, Reviews, Rian Johnson, Romance, Summit Entertainment, Thrillers & Mystery/Suspense on February 6, 2010 at 8:07 PM

The Brothers Bloom is my kind of movie. When I selected the film from my local Redbox, I expected to enjoy it. I mean, it’s a comedic con-man story. I figured it would be good, but I never expected to be so enthralled. Trying to describe the film cannot do it justice. All I’m going to say is imagine the perfect mixture of Big Fish, Matchstick Men, and Chinatown.

To be clear, this is not a perfect film. I have seen better films recently, but The Brothers Bloom is my favorite film of the year. And I don’t feel uncomfortable drawing this distinction. There is definitely a distinction between good movies and those you like the most. I’m not going to go into that right now, but, to explain, Star Wars is my favorite movie of all time, yet The Godfather is the greatest film I have ever seen.

So, why did I love this movie so much? For the life of me, I cannot pinpoint a specific aspect of the film that made it stand out, and that in and of itself is one of its strong points. Everything – the direction, the cinematography, the acting, the writing – comes together and creates this fantastic blend of mystery, fantasy, and comedy.

The opening sequence brings you straight into the brothers’ world. With a fantastic narration by the magician Ricky Jay, we see Stephen, 13, and Bloom, 10, as they craft their first con, and already we have a good idea of the relationship between the two, as well as their differences, which is at the heart of the film. In the next scene, we see the brothers 25 years later, at the top of their game. They are true con men, and the movie has fun with a quick rewind to explain what we just saw. After these introductions, the plot really picks up when Stephen goes to Bloom with one last con.

The story itself isn’t entirely original. It is a typical con man story, but the movie is just so much fun and still has something deeper to say. The performances are good throughout, although no one specific stands out. The film also looks great, with a clever closing shot that really gives closure to the story. However, I don’t want to go into more detail about the technical aspects of the movie.

It all comes down to tone. The entire film gives you this feeling of wonder and that is what movies are all about. No matter how technically perfect or how many layers of meaning one can find in a movie, it makes no difference if it doesn’t provoke any emotional reaction. I can’t articulate exactly why I enjoyed this movie so much, and that is part of the reason it is so memorable. The Brothers Bloom is a magnificent film, with a perfect mixture of fantasy, comedy, and emotion that I absolutely loved.

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  1. […] 2/5 – The Brothers Bloom: I absolutely loved this movie. See my full review. […]

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