Monday, July 6, 2009

Movies: The Brothers Bloom

I almost didn't go to this movie because the synopsis sounded so unappealing: Mark Ruffalo and Adrien Brody partnering with Rinko Kikuchi and Rachel Weisz for one last hurrah as con-men? It was only my love of Brody that dragged me down and across town to the only theatre still playing it (I sense it did not do well).

It's far from a perfect movie; perhaps a bit too long, and rather dreamy in a way that I often cannot tolerate, though the color-soaked shots and curious costumes and Brody's always so-sad face kept my eyes rather satisfied. The story is a strange, perhaps fractured, fairy tale, in which the older of two orphaned brothers creates schemes not only to keep the pair flush with cash, but also to give the shy, romantic, younger brother access to the promise of love, a means to interact with a beautiful girl who catches his eye. But there is a constant struggle for Brody's brooding romantic between the fantasy world of the con and the let-down once it's over, once it's time to collect the booty and split. Weisz's isolated idiot savant, a girl-woman raised in isolation with too many hobbies and not enough social skills, is both the ideal mark (rich, clueless, and willing to buy into the promise of an adventure) and the ideal love object for Brody's Bloom.

The four slip in and out of madcap adventures, but at the end, Big brother Ruffalo has to die, both a mock and real death, before brooding Bloom can be free to pursue his "unwritten life." This is not an unsatisfying ending, either, for Ruffalo's wooden clowning, his ringmaster card tricks, inspired a sadness even deeper than Brody's Bloom's: a disbelief in anything's truth, a refusal to dream or hope or long.

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