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Performing Art
Arts and Entertainment Tuesday, Jun. 2, 2009 11 years ago

'The Brothers Bloom'


Some films have their moments, which keep them from falling into obscurity. "The Brothers Bloom" has a lot of those moments but not quite enough to qualify it as a great movie. It does sport a great cast that includes Oscar winner Adrien Brody ("The Pianist"), Mark Ruffalo ("Reservation Road") and Rachel Weisz ("The Constant Gardener").

Ruffalo and Brody play brothers Stephen and Bloom, respectively. The two have been con men since childhood. For Stephen, the con is the life force that propels his existence. For Bloom, it's lost its lure. But, he does agree to one last gig that involves scheming a wealthy, young, lonely heiress (Weisz) out of millions. She's an easy mark, too easy for such a sophisticated and convoluted plot. Therein lies the rub. Just when we think we're in on the con, we're not. Then another con-within-a-con emerges, and we're lost. Toward the end we're in on it again but, oops, not really. The game is too hard, and it gets old. I was exhausted keeping up.

"The Brothers Bloom" does manage to soar on some levels. It trots around the globe to lush locales such as Montenegro, Serbia, Romania and The Czech Republic. Director Rian Johnson ("Brick") goes all out on the costuming, especially for Bang-Bang (Rinko Kikuchi), who is an absolute delight as Stephen's sidekick. She's a scene-stealer amidst these heavy-hitters.

But, it's Rachel Weisz who deserves applause for her performance as the mark who "collects other people's hobbies." For this role she learned to play piano, banjo, violin and accordion. In addition, she learned to juggle, break dance, do karate, play ping-pong, ride a unicycle and skateboard. It justifies the ticket price just to see her in action.

"The Brothers Bloom" tends to go round and round and not get anywhere. But, it's not a bad ride. And watching Rachel Weisz getting her first kiss makes it all worth the trip.


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