Film Break: “The Brothers Bloom”
Some filmmakers are totally in love with words; for others, it’s the view from the camera. Rian Johnson seems particularly enamored with both, and I’m head-over-heels for his new picture, The Brothers Bloom. Johnson proved himself a masterful stylist and an auteur to keep an eye on with his savvy, endlessly inventive noir Brick, but his latest is something else altogether: A comedic caper, a con-men comedy that’s as lavishly stylish and giddily creative as Brick, but also so different that immediately moves Johnson to the upper rung of young cinematic storytellers. After a movie as striking and distinct as Brick, a lesser filmmakers might have written himself into a corner; instead, Johnson blows the door open and reveals that his horizons are endless, crating a unique style that borrows from the Marx Brothers, Wes Anderson, Woody Allen at his nuttiest and most out-there, and the great con-men classics of old, like Dirty Rotten Scoundrels— and finds in those influences a voice that’s almost preternaturally assured and one-of-a-kind. Chalk it up to inspiration: Brothers Bloom is a comedy with heart, a mad rush of invention and storytelling finesse that matches Wes Anderson’s visual flair but unearths a whole new level of emotion. The characters that Johnson develops are altogether fully-formed, surprising, and real– give some of the credit to a group of knockout performances, particularly the show-stealing Rachel Weisz and the very fine Adrian Brody, in his best work since The Pianist— and the whole movie is simply a joy: A wonderfully rich and heartfelt movie with a conscience and a keen wit, but, above all, a zeal for storytelling. Like Mark Ruffalo’s character in the movie, Johnson and his cast deserve a big “wow” for this one.