The Brothers Bloom

by

comment

 It's a lively and lovely cross between David Mamet and Wes Anderson. It's also not as smart as it thinks it is.

Writer-director Rhian Johnson has set his bar high; after an impressive debut with the oh-so-clever high school noir, Brick, he tackles that trickiest of genre flicks: the breezy con-man thriller. The problem is that, in a story filled with witty triple-cross schemes, once you say "con man" the audience is in on the jig. So, you have to either delight them or keep 'em guessing. Until its final scene, Brothers Bloom does neither.

But it is a decent ride. Mark Ruffalo and Adrien Brody play sibling hucksters who construct elaborate cons, complete with dramatic arcs and literary allusions. But Brody wants out. So with "one last con" they focus on daffy millionaire heiress and shut-in Rachel Weisz. Romance rears its head, the twists mount and it mostly goes where you'd expect. 

The whole movie's a con, really, with period affectations, screwball badinage and gorgeous locales filled with ridiculously eccentric characters. Johnson gets big points because this isn't an exercise in hokum. 

What Johnson does best is romance; hence the bubbly Rachel Weisz, who gives her every scene the snap and pop of inventiveness. And like her impossibly multitalented character (juggler-musician-photographer-karate master-epileptic), the movie isn't short of great ideas. Johnson, unfortunately, isn't skilled enough to make them all work. Or to make you care.

Jeff Meyers writes about film for Metro Times. Send comments to letters@metrotimes.com.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at letters@metrotimes.com.

Detroit Metro Times works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Detroit and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Detroit's true free press free.