It’s very easy to get jaded as a critic. It’s the hazard of the profession. You see so much stuff that it’s practically inevitable. You start to see the patterns and the formulas more then the films. You judge by what you’ve seen before and what you hope to have seen more then what you did see. After awhile it’s almost like your judging by some strict sense of personal dogma. You start giving things passes that you shouldn’t and unduly harsh to others. You make rules.
But every once in awhile you see something that makes you forget all of that and makes you fall in love. Like you used to. The only difference is now you understand what a rare and valuable thing that love is.
Ah but that’s the trick isn’t it. Because love is blind. The little foilables and cute eccentricities and imperfections of those we love may be wonderful to us and nails on a chalkboard to others. But that’s OK. Love makes you look vulnerable. Love makes you look foolish.
I cannot tell you if you’ll love The Brother’s Bloom, I can only tell you that I did. Completely.
From the very first sequence The Brother’s Bloom is the movie it set out to be. A real confidence fills the entire proceeding. Once again this is a blessing and a curse, you’ll either fall for Johnson’s fairy tale or reject it utterly. But either way Bloom confirms what Brick hinted at, that Rian Johnson is an American filmmaker of original wit and style with a natural eye. A rare and valuable thing. Someone who can make a scene laugh out loud funny simply by the framing, and heart breaking in the same way, while laughing his head off the entire time. He’s what we all wished Richard Kelly was.
The Brother’s Bloom tells the story of the titular siblings. Introduced in a long and strangely beautiful opening that tells their story in a poem narrated by the irreplaceable Ricky Jay. The opening is the key to the movie, either you invest yourself in The Brother’s Story or you don’t. Flashing forward twenty five years later, the brothers have become uber successful con men, assisted by their girl Friday Bang Bang, an anarchistic nearly mute Japanese explosive expert, played by Rinko Kikuchi in a performance that makes her turn in Babel seem staid, and will either be the final bit of icing on the cake, or the thing that makes you start to tear up your theater seat in the urge to find something to throw at the screen.
The Brother’s played in adulthood by Mark Ruffalo, whose never been quite so much fun, and a convincingly damaged Adrien Brody, start on one last con to swindle the fantastically rich and completely adorable Rachel Weisz out of some small part of her vast fortune. Things are of course complicated by love, but the surprise comes from just whose love does the complicating.
Because for all it’s stylistic tics and cartoonish moments that’s all The Brother’s Bloom is, a love story. One that affected me deeply. I hope you feel the same.