The Brother’s Bloom, starring Mark Ruffalo (Stephen) and Adrien Brody (Bloom) as a pair of world-famous con artists/siblings, is a heady caper flick made absurd and entertaining by a clever screenplay, a quick pace, and a talented actress named Rachel Weisz. OK -- we all know (and love) Rachel Weisz, but she’s best remembered for her roles in more…substantial films. Oddly enough, before Weisz hit the peak of her career, she was in 2003’s Confidence, where she played a streetwise pickpocket and seductress. In this latest film, she’s plays the exact opposite as Penelope Stamp, an eccentric shut-in living off her parents’ inheritance in a secluded mansion in New Jersey. She’s also “the mark.”
Early on, we learn that Stephen, the older of the two brothers, is obsessed with cons to a fault. He meticulously plots intricate narratives of deceit as if they are famous works of literature. Bloom, sick of constantly being used as a character in his brother’s stories, decides to walk on the family business, but not before he’s convinced to go in on One Last Con. The scheme is for Bloom to “accidentally” bump into Penelope, ensnare her with his charm, and convince her to join him on an art smuggling adventure. In essence, Penelope will get the adventure she’s always dreamed of, and the Brother’s will get their grubby hands on her money.
The plan seems simple enough, but it obviously won’t be. Penelope is both incredibly gullible and shrewd. She treats the adventure with the maturity of a 16-year-old girl allowed to take the car of out for the first time; she’s all guffaw and gawk. But her hidden, dare I say quirky, talents -- from years spent inside, collecting hobbies -- reveal her true intelligence.
Penelope is easily swayed by the brothers. But it seems that she really enjoys going along for the ride and has no problem allowing herself to be played. As an audience member, I more-or-less felt the same way.
-- MIKE BERLIN
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