The Brothers Bloom (12A)

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The Independent Culture

Rian Johnson's conmen drama starts off very jauntily as the tale of two brothers, one named Stephen (Mark Ruffalo), the other – bafflingly, given the title – named Bloom (Adrien Brody), both clad in the dark suits, white shirts and hats of the silent-comedy era.

The brothers, with a taciturn Japanese associate (Rinko Kikuchi) in tow, choose a lonely, eccentric widower (Rachel Weisz – never convincing as a lonely person) as the target of their last big scam together, and bounce around picturesque Eastern Europe – Montenegro, Prague, St.Petersburg – trying to set it all up. The gimmick is that Stephen spins great yarns for them to enact, while Bloom has tired of their living this "scripted life". He's not the only one. Too contrived to be plausible, too winsome to be quite bearable, it seems fatally undecided as to whether it's aiming for the farce of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels or something noirishly Mametian such as House of Games or The Spanish Prisoner. Johnson's script sounds very pleased with itself, but there aren't any great lines here, and most of its energy derives from the changing locations and the racy polkas on the soundtrack.