Posted on 9.4.08: I just stumbled out of a screening of Rian Johnson‘s The Brothers Bloom (Summit, 12.19), a sumptuous but impossibly silly and logic-free jape in the vein of…frankly, the movie it most reminded me of was the 1967 Casino Royale, which still reigns as one of the emptiest wank-off movies of the mid to late ’60s.
It’s an elaborate, European-set con-artist movie that imparts none of the fun or the thrill of the game. I didn’t know what was going on half the time, and I stopped caring around the 45-minute mark. Rachel Weisz, as a rich mark named Penelope, is lovely and delightful to hang with — I’ll give her (and the movie) that. But Adrien Brody, as the conscience-wracked half of The Brothers Bloom (sick of being a con man, wants a real life, etc.), is glum and doleful and enervated, and infuriating for that.
Brody’s character’s last name is Bloom, as is his brother Stephen, who’s played by Mark Ruffalo…and yet Brody is repeatedly addressed as “Bloom” and Ruffalo is called “Stephen.” I fell in hate with the movie over this point alone.
I hated the relentlessly sullen poseur crap delivered by Rinko Kikuchi, who plays an appendage named “Bang Bang.” I wanted to see her knifed or shot or pushed into the ocean. All I could think when I watched Robbie Coltrane, who plays “the curator,” was “my God, the man has to lose some weight!” He’s really gone past the tipping point in terms of excess tonnage.
I lasted a little less than an hour, and I was reeling from the preciousness, the overdone continental cutesiness, the feeling of being simultaneously mauled, tickled, fucked with and drugged by the impossibly faux-Wes Anderson style of the damn thing.
Rian obviously wants to be Wes, but this movie makes The Life Aquatic look like Yasujiro Ozu‘s Floating Weeds.
Some will say that The Brothers Bloom is lush and stylistically mesmerizing and beautiful to bathe in, in the empty sense of that term. But this is the kind of movie that appeals to 30-something Entertainment Weekly or New York magazine feature writers who have no taste to speak of.
It’s ravishingly composed and oh-so-poised with a sense of old-world European train-car romance (as it once existed 50 or 60 years ago) , and yet so stuck on its cleverness that I wanted to reach out and strangle the movie — pull it right off the screen, leap on top of it like a 350-pound wrestler and choke the life out of the damn thing.
I counted at least 22 walkouts before I finally gave up. When I left two volunteers said to me, “Is it over? There are so many people leaving!” We all had a good laugh.