Rian Johnson, writer and director of The Brothers Bloom, has only directed one other film and that film, Brick, just so happens to be one of my all time favourites. He also recently directed an episode of Breaking Bad one of my all time favourite TV shows. My expectations were suitably raised upon going to see Bloom and as such I was slightly disappointed.
Don’t get me wrong, this is a good film; funny, stylised and surprising. Bloom just isn’t quite right.
Where the film suffers is with timing. While the film is under two hours long it seems to drag a lot in the middle; a con movie such as this needs to be a bit faster paced but Johnson’s plan to have a con movie with sympathetic characters requirs time for emotional scenes that held the film up. Ultimately this was a worthy sacrifice; what it lacked in pace it made up for in heart as while we never knew the characters true motives as the film went along we did start to care about what would happen to them.
The entire cast, Rachel Wiesz, Adrien Brody, Mark Ruffalo, Rinko Kikuchi and Robbie Coltrane were perfect for their parts and performed well. The direction and general production design were both very stylised, something that is often seen as a criticism. Personally I think it is often a plus point if you notice a particularly nice camera move, there’s nothing wrong with direction standing out as good as opposed to being overly generic. The music is also a treat, and as with Brick is provided by Johnson’s cousin, combining piano and various jazz instruments to create a unique sound, so different to most hollywood films.
With good direction, writing, music and acting it’s hard to know where the film comes up short but it does, if only slightly. Thankfully it remains clear that Rian Johnson has a real flair for writing and directing and any comparisons to Wes Anderson should be taken as a compliment.