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Movie Rewind: The Brothers Bloom – my new favorite camel?

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The Brothers Bloom / 1 hour 49 minutes / Rated PG-13

The Brothers Bloom / 1 hour 49 minutes / Rated PG-13

Run, don’t walk, to see the Brothers Bloom before it concludes its last (currently) scheduled run at the Ragtag Cinema on August 19.

It is one of the best films I have seen in recent time. It is nearly perfect in every aspect – the acting, writing, direction, cinematography, clothing, casting, and final composition with titling and music.

The contrast in colors is vivid; using a bright palette it makes the screen pop as we are taken around Eastern Europe, the Mediterranean, and even New Jersey.

It is brilliant in its cleverness, but doesn’t go so far as to be insulting or pretentious. You know it has a few aces up its sleeve, but it doesn’t make you feel stupid or slow because of it – merely expectant.

Speaking of aces, one great sequence of the film involves Rachel Weisz (Constant Gardener, Runaway Jury, The Mummy) doing an elaborate card trick during a monologue about how “the trick to not feeling cheated is to learn how to cheat.”  Multiple cameras, creative angles and the fact that she did the whole scene in one take makes this a real standout moment for both her character’s development and the movie as a whole.

Stephen Bloom, played brilliantly by Mark Ruffalo, at one point describes the perfect con as being the one where “everyone gets what they want.” This sentiment essentially describes what the film and its director Rian Johnson (Brick) accomplish with aplomb.

The film seems to share space with the likes of Wes Anderson’s Darjeeling Limited, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, and The Royal Tenenbaums – smart, dialog driven and highly stylized pieces that, while quirky, remain charming and interesting. However, unlike Anderson’s films, Johnson accomplishes this without making the audience feel like they haven’t been let in on some inside joke.

Although the Brothers Bloom came out in limited release on May 15, it only just recently opened in Columbia on August 7 and is only being screened at Ragtag – limiting the opportunities to catch a showing. However, watching a movie like this in a more intimate theater while sprawled out on a couch seems to be the perfect viewing arrangement.

If there is one moment that truly captures the spirit of the film, it is a brief exchange that takes place in Montenegro where one of the brothers Bloom finds the other after a short-term separation. “Where are we going?” Bloom (yes, the character’s name is Bloom Bloom) asks, played by Adrien Brody (The Darjeeling Limited, King Kong, the Pianist).  “New Jersey,” Stephen answers. “I’ll get my coat,” Bloom responds.


Written by Jonathan Hutcheson

August 12, 2009 at 1:59 pm

Posted in Films

Tagged with , , , ,

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