November 25, 2009

The Brothers Bloom (2008)

Billed as a quirky con-man piece, I was really afraid that this would be yet another piece of Wes Andersonian drivel, especially with Brody having just starred in The Darjeeling Limited (which I did not entirely hate). Thankfully though, Rian Johnson put his special charm in this second feature, creating a mix of adventure, drama and (to my delight) a pseudo-steampunk period piece. Sure this, much like Johnsons's first feature, Brick, seems to happen in the present time, but the characters insist on wearing vests, fedoras and travel on steam boats and trains. It is odd but it works in a charming kind of way. The film is not without flaws, notably the many twists and turns which desensitize us to anything which might happen next, but broadly, its heart is at the right place. With notably bigger cast, locations and budget, the film looks like it went through a good amount of post production, at least in comparison to Brick, but it somehow works. Overall I enjoyed it tremendously, and the ending didn't disappoint too much, despite getting the feeling that Jonson tried having his cake and eating it too, essentially creating a film with both a sad and happy ending at once, dare I say, for lack of a replacement for 'bittersweet' (which wouldn't entirely be accurate). Rinko Kikuchi was a delight too, despite the lack of dialogue, but what she lacked in dialogue she made up in Karaoke and blowing up dolls with C4.