The life of a con man seems glamorous. Travelling the world duping the rich for cash and attracting exotic beauties along the way. The Brothers Bloom are two famous con men whose plots always go perfectly, like well told stories. One of the brothers writes them out while the other becomes the starring role, though this star now wants out in hopes for a ‘real’ life. But you’re never truly out when involved with crime. Isn’t that right, Carlito and Michael?
The Brothers Bloom focusses largely on Bloom (Adrian Brody) as he mopes about with his life not being his to control, instead being written out by his brother Stephen (Mark Ruffalo). He seems to enjoy the jobs when involved with them, but at parties he’s a miserable sod. The two and their associate Bang Bang (Rinko Kikuchi) go off to dupe one more time, involving a rich socially inept lady, Penelope Stamp (Rachel Weisz). With their wacky plans they manage to get her on board and Bloom quickly becomes infatuated in her and her way of never planning. The group travel from Prague to Mexico to steal a valuable book. Lots of romance, action and wacky moments meld it all together for a rather unique ride.
But while unique The Brothers Bloom can’t decide if it wants to be all out serious or weird. In a Wes Anderson film the strange and the normal are always playing together, a perfect blend. In The Brothers Bloom the two feel rather cold and separate from one another. Weird and norm are always in their own scenes, the two never even glancing over to one another. Sometimes Penelope is be caring and thoughtful, then there will be a cut off with her juggling chainsaws. It’s jarring and the only strange element which works throughout is Bloom’s brother Stephen creating his story. By the last act the strange is all but gone, and we’re left with a rather choppy feeling film with long voyages of nothing much happening.
Trimmed down and carefully balanced, The Brothers Bloom could have been something special, but it tries too hard to be silly without considering how it works with the rest of the tale. Not a perfect con.