The Brothers Bloom

May 1st, 2009


The Brothers Bloom

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Still of Rachel Weisz and Adrien Brody in The Brothers BloomStill of Adrien Brody, Rinko Kikuchi and Mark Ruffalo in The Brothers BloomStill of Rinko Kikuchi and Mark Ruffalo in The Brothers BloomStill of Rachel Weisz, Adrien Brody, Rian Johnson and Mark Ruffalo in The Brothers BloomStill of Adrien Brody in The Brothers BloomStill of Adrien Brody and Mark Ruffalo in The Brothers Bloom

The Brothers Bloom are the best con men in the world, swindling millionaires with complex scenarios of lust and intrigue. Now they've decided to take on one last job - showing a beautiful and eccentric heiress the time of her life with a romantic adventure that takes them around the world.

Release Year: 2008

Rating: 6.9/10 (22,146 voted)

Critic's Score: 55/100

Director: Rian Johnson

Stars: Rachel Weisz, Adrien Brody, Mark Ruffalo

Brothers - older Stephen and three years junior Bloom - have been con artists since they were kids. Stephen is the mastermind, for who the intricacy of the story used in the con is as important as the positive outcome of the swindle. Bloom is the main character of Stephen's stories, the character he considers the anti-hero. As adults, they travel the world and never enlist the same people twice in their cons, except for their consistent sidekick, the mysterious and primarily silent Bang Bang, a Japanese woman who just appeared in their lives one day and who has a penchant for blowing things up. As Bloom hits his mid-thirties, he wants to quit the business as he is losing his own identity to that of the characters he portrays; he doesn't know anymore what is real and what is make-believe. Stephen talks him into one last con, the mark to be the eccentric, lonely but beautiful New Jersey heiress...

Rachel Weisz - Penelope
Adrien Brody - Bloom
Mark Ruffalo - Stephen
Rinko Kikuchi - Bang Bang
Robbie Coltrane - Curator
Maximilian Schell - Diamond Dog
Ricky Jay - Narrator (voice)
Zachary Gordon - Young Bloom
Max Records - Young Stephen
Andy Nyman - Charleston
Noah Segan - The Duke
Nora Zehetner - Rose
Ram Bergman - Himself
Craig Johnson - Apple Cart Vendor
Dubravko Jovanovic - Albino

Taglines: Two master deceivers. One last swindling journey.


Official Website: Official site | Official site [France] |

Release Date: May 2009

Filming Locations: Bar, Montenegro

Box Office Details

Budget: $20,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend: $90,400 (USA) (17 May 2009) (4 Screens)

Gross: $3,519,627 (USA) (2 August 2009)

Technical Specs


Did You Know?

The three main characters are based on characters from James Joyce's "Ulysses" (which in turn is based on Homer's "Odyssey"). Stephen is based on Stephen Daedalus, a restless young writer in two of Joyce's novels; in "The Brothers Bloom", Stephen plans their cons with a writer's flair. Bloom is based on Leopold Bloom, who is wandering around Dublin, trying to find himself and his way back to his wife. In The Brothers Bloom, Bloom is figuratively looking for himself, and ultimately finds his way to Penelope. In "The Odyssey", Penelope is Odysseus' wife who waits for him through all of his travels; likewise, here, Penelope awaits Bloom through his wanderings.

Bloom: Eat your waffles, fat man.

User Review

They DO make them like they used to, only better!

Rating: 9/10

What a wonderful surprise: Yesterday my sister calls me and tells me that there's a new film by the director of Brick, playing at the Mill Valley Film Festival. "I'm there!"

Even before we get in the theater, I know we're in for a different experience. A pair of toughs with metal detectors wave us down for hidden cameras and demand we turn our cell phones off. I'm surprised we didn't have to take our shoes off. Endgame Entertainment certainly doesn't want any leaks.

Once inside, the director, Rian Johnson, shows up just before the show starts, fresh off a flight from Abu Dhabi no less. He gives a short interview with Mark Fishkin (long time director of the festival), coming off as a very charming, self-effacing, funny and unpretentious fellow. I like him immediately. Hollywood has not corrupted him (yet).

Like Tarantino, Johnson has closely studied films and makes constant references and nods to The Classics, especially from the 40s and 50s. Unlike Tarantino, Johnson writes more original stories and has good taste and far gentler sensibilities. Obvious influences include: Wes Anderson, The Cohen Bros, Billy Wilder, John Huston.

The film itself? Instant classic. It's got all the elements you could want in a Hollywood-style movie: Charming characters, plot twists, tons of gags, an incredibly beautiful leading lady, sumptuous sets and locations, and an overall sense "gee-whiz-isn't-this-fun!"

And it's classy, too. It doesn't resort to needless, sensationalist sex and violence. The writer respects and honors the audience's intelligence, a all-too-rare occurrence these days.

You could tell that the actors had a blast with the sometimes subtle, sometimes slap-stick script, relishing their characters' quirks and foibles.

Overall, Brothers Bloom almost manages perfection. It's one fault lies in the resolution, the last 5 minutes where it's tone abruptly changes for darker. Without giving anything away, I feel that it was too heavy-handed, considering the generally light and wacky spirit that had predominated. The rest of the audience seemed to feel the same way, given the hushed mood as the credits rolled. If the producers have an alternate ending up their sleeves, I suggest they use it, even it has to be somewhat ambiguous.

Otherwise, I'm happy to contribute to the positive buzz. I really think Brothers Bloom could be a huge hit, even a timeless classic.


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