You ever see a trailer for a film, think to yourself “Boy, that looks like something I might like” and then when it actually comes out in theaters you forget completely about it? If so then those of you who know what I’m talking about will know how I felt about The Brothers Bloom, which I saw trailers for and then quickly saw nothing about it ever again. It suddenly appeared, for rental only, in September of 2009 and despite this I still never saw it (I rarely rent movies as is, so it was easily forgettable). Flash forward to January and bam—the Blu-ray lands on my doorstep. Success! I can finally watch this film I’ve thought of for split seconds since May of 2009.
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.
Generally speaking films that have that much history and anticipation behind them before seeing them rarely work out in the end. But I still eagerly inserted that bland looking Blu-ray disc into my PS3 and once I got to the point where I could actually hit “Play” on the main menu, I was finally able to settle in for the film. I didn’t immediately love the film, since that’s kind of a hard thing to do (“love at first sight” doesn’t exactly apply to the film medium), but once it started to really get into the main plot I found myself not only loving the characters but just the general…aloof nature of the film itself. It was carefree and when it did care it did so in a way that didn’t weigh it down.
It doesn’t hurt that all of the main cast, from Ruffalo to Brody to Kikuchi to Weisz, were perfect in their individual roles. It’s not often you see Weisz play a character that isn’t contending for an Oscar of some sorts (well, aside from The Mummy films anyway) and here she captures the lonely and slightly screw-loose character perfectly. There are moments in the film that still stand out to me as brilliant bits of character work, even if they were slightly confusing in their own makeup (the book stealing sequence comes to mind).
The film definitely has its fair share of quirky moments and it’s no doubt that mentality and mindset that caused some viewers of this film to be turned off. I don’t know what to compare it to as it’s in the vein of a Wes Anderson movie but at the same time a lot less serious. Bloom has some drama to it, including a rather vague eye-patch wearing character that either has some very deep word play brought into the mix or was just something I was reading far too much into, but for the most part it’s a lighthearted adventure flick that feels like an old Tom Sawyer book you might knock back on a Sunday afternoon.
While the cast is varied it also feels absolutely perfect. A majority of actors pop in that you swear you recognize but can’t place and I have to say that Rinko Kikuchi as “Bang Bang” may be one of the smallest yet most enjoyable appearances of a character I’ve seen in a long time. She’s akin to Boba Fett—rarely on-screen, but steals every scene she’s in. I’m sure there’s a better comparison out there, but I’m much too lazy to think of one…and much too big of a geek for Star Wars to ignore making a reference.
As enjoyable as the film is the ending is a bit of a confusing letdown. You want it to fool you into thinking it’s something it’s not and the film does exactly that. But just when you realize that’s not what you want it ends up slapping you in the face with the real ending and making you both sad and confused at the same time. If anything the ending was the weakest point of the film, but it was really the only way to suture up the plot and characters without necessitating a sequel. Which, as much as I’d enjoy, it not something that I see happening. Films in such limited releases with big star power rarely come around for another outing.
Overall The Brothers Bloom was a nice little flick that screams “indie” but is really a lot more mainstream than one would expect. Plus there’s a couple of cameos by actors from the director’s previous film which will make you question whether your eyes are seeing things, as they never show up again. It’s definitely an engaging little film to be sure and one I Highly Recommend.
The aforementioned boring Blu-ray disc? Yeah…it’s really boring. The cover art is fine enough but with zero inserts and a splash of plain blue on the disc art, it’s a very underwhelming package to open. Of course it’s the contents that matter and the disc itself has a healthy dosage of extras that are actually worth watching and not just regurgitated EPK fluff.
Video arrives in an AVC encoded format and looks really quite fantastic on the format. It’s bright, cheery, full of detail and contains a golden hue about the entire thing that looks absolutely brilliant. It’s truly stunning to watch from start to finish and while there are moments where the detail levels aren’t quite as high (usually in the darker nighttime sequences) as they are throughout the rest of the film overall it’s a very nice transfer. Summit may be a little-known company, but they’ve been releasing some of the better looking Blu-ray’s I’ve seen. Audio is a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix and being mostly a comedic film there’s not a whole lot of surround usage, although the frequent Lamborghini wrecks and other actiony sound effects make their fair share of subwoofer noise. It’s not an overwhelming track by any means, which is great for this film as it is very subtle at times. Overall a solid A/V presentation and one that will only further to heighten the experience of watching this movie.
Extras are not overwhelming but they are all worth checking out. Included:
Audio Commentary by director Rian Johnson and producer Ram Bergman
From Sketch to Celluloid
Behind the Scenes
Not a huge list, right? But it’s the content that counts and there’s plenty of good stuff to check out. The commentary itself is a delight to listen to as Johnson may be one of the most exciting directors to listen to and if his future works are as good as this early stuff then I’m looking forward to seeing where his career goes. The deleted scenes were rightfully deleted, but Johnson’s commentaries on those are welcome as he goes through the motions of why it didn’t work and all that. The “Sketch” bit is a glorified storyboard segment, but it’s interesting to see Johnson’s original sketches in comparison to the professionally drawn ones and the final result. Finally the “Behind the Scenes” segment is just that—it’s not a making-of or anything, as it’s just a lot of raw footage that was recorded by Kevin Ford. Very candid and the closest thing to getting an idea of what it’s like to be on-set with the cast and crew of this film short of having worked on the film.
Overall a Recommended Blu-ray release. Great film, fantastic A/V presentation, and solid extras. A winner all around…I’m just slightly annoyed Summit waited so long to release this to retail.
The Brothers Bloom is now available on DVD and Blu-ray.