Films & Schedules

  • The Brothers Bloom

  • Rian Johnson

109 minutes

Production Company:
Endgame Entertainment
Executive Producer:
Wendy Japhet, Douglas Hansen
Ram Bergman, James D. Stern
Rian Johnson
Production Designer:
Jim Clay
Steve Yedlin
Gabriel Wrye
Pawel Wdowczak
Nathan Johnson
Principal Cast: Rachel Weisz, Adrien Brody, Mark Ruffalo, Rinko Kikuchi, Robbie Coltrane, Maximilian Schell

Canadian Distributor:
Seville Pictures
US Distributor:
Summit Entertainment
International Sales Agent:
The Weinstein Company

Tuesday September 0909:00PM RYERSON Add Film to MyTIFF Filmlist
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Director Rian Johnson made an auspicious feature debut with Brick in 2005, and his highly anticipated follow-up exhibits a sure-handed evolution of his talents. Teaming up with some of the same creative crew – Brick's composer Nathan Johnson and cinematographer Steve Yedlin – Johnson takes us on an around-the-world adventure.

The titular brothers are Stephen (Mark Ruffalo) and Bloom (Adrien Brody), orphans who bonded in childhood and were mentored into highly skilled con men by an enigmatic Fagin figure (Maximilian Schell). By the time they are adults, they have established a fail-safe formula: Stephen is the “head,” creating elaborate plots with a Machiavellian glee, and Bloom is the “heart,” charged with playing the part of the front man. Bloom is as moody as Stephen is driven, however, and wants to quit after every assignment. Stephen finally implores him to do one more job – one so sweet it cannot be refused – agreeing to dissolve the partnership upon its completion.

Their mark is an innocent, lonely New Jersey heiress named Penelope (Rachel Weisz); the mission is to get her to invest in a scheme involving smugglers, antiquarian books and cave chambers under Prague Castle. She takes the bait, but under one condition: that she accompany the brothers on the adventure. This unexpected twist sees Bloom, for one, secretly happy, as Penelope's sweet charm and eccentric intelligence have touched something deep within him for the first time in his peripatetic life.

The trio sets off by train, boat and caravan to numerous destinations around the world, joined by the brothers' usual sidekick, the mute, explosives-obsessed, fashion-forward Bang Bang (memorably played by Babel's Rinko Kikuchi). Affection blossoms between Bloom and Penelope, even as the wheels start falling off Stephen's Byzantine scheme.

The Brothers Bloom is a visual delight, harking back to classic road movies and giving design nods to everyone from Salvador Dalí to Balenciaga. Ruffalo and Brody are utterly believable as brothers, and despite her varied career, it may be that Weisz has never created so warm and intelligently sexy a character. At one point in the film, Stephen opines, “The best con is when everyone gets what they want.” For an audience that wants laughter, adventure and romance, this is the best con of the year.

Jane Schoettle

Rian Johnson was born in Maryland and graduated from the University of Southern California. His debut feature film, Brick (05), won the Special Jury Prize for Originality of Vision at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival. The Brothers Bloom (08) is his second feature.

Cadillac People's Choice Award