Strolling through Blockbuster I picked up this film purely for being a great fan of Adrien Brody‘s acting. I had never heard the title but, when looking for a movie there are usually selfish motives behind this search – I want to laugh, I want to feel, I want to be challenged, I want to be entertained. This movie rather surprisingly did it all for me – but, this I would only find out later that night. What really sold me on the spot was –being the sucker for the theatricality of film making and photography that I am- that this promised to take me on a voyage around the world. The visuals alone seemed promising and the rest seemed to follow.
” 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. “
Yeah, yeah, yeah I know. Doesn’t sound all that intriguing given the upsurge of mediocre con-artist movies in the past decade… However, I will tell you this: the con here is not the subject but rather a Zen-like object to allow Rian Johnson (writer and director) to tell a great story poetically, with an intriguing abundance of wit, irony and depth. A multi-dimensional film.
“Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.” What’s the difference? The tasks are the same. The need is the same. What about the frame of mind? Who is chopping? Who is carrying water? – Swami Sivananda on the Zen saying
INTENTIONAL CROSS REFERENCES OF TIME/ERA: by combining contradictory costumes, props, and place the film establishes itself in a non-descript fictional time that alludes to the essence of film – the telling of a S-T-O-R-Y . The tall tale is fused with the psychological and emotional depths of the main characters so that the entire film reads like a Gabriel Garcia Marquez novel – where history and myth become so interlaced with the richness of the setting that one can no longer tell which is what.
THEN THERE IS THE COMIC RELIEF often provided by the same mechanism as the drama – Bloom’s lifetime role as Steven’s antihero. This backed by Bang Bang – the silent side kick who has a talent for blowing things up + the eccentric “lonely, but beautiful” heiress, Penelope. Below watch the scene when Bloom meets Penelope.