Whether it is a guileful masterplan from Danny Ocean or a ridiculously brash scheme from that bloke in Hustle, I have a definite weakness for heists and all the gratuitously clever little asides that come with them. This is not a run-of-the-mill heist film though. In the same way that Quentin Tarantino explored a very different kind of love story in True Romance, Brothers Bloom is a very alternative scam movie.
Rachel Weisz steals the show as the unfathomable and magnetic Penelope, but what will really keep audiences rapt is the richness of the imagery served up for us by the excellent Rian Johnson in his first film since his brilliant debut Brick.
Stephen (Mark Ruffalo) and Bloom (Adrien Brody) are orphaned brothers who work their way through countless foster homes until they are old enough to go out into the world and relieve rich folks of their easily-earned riches. Year after year, con after con, Stephen creates roles for himself, his brother and his assistant Bang Bang. However young Bloom is tired of living a lie and tells Stephen that he intends to quit after one last con. Which brings us to Rachel Weisz.
The English actress plays a lonely and beautifully eccentric heiress with whom Bloom must forge a friendship to make this final job work. Like the audience, he begins to fall for her. Weisz must have been having a whale of a time as she played the fractured Penelope and she shimmers brilliantly as the affable recluse.
One way or another she joins their lovable little gang and they end up on a journey which pulls you closer to all the characters. Yet the central theme of the whole movie is the delightful ambiguity of the whole scenario. Does Bloom really want to escape his life as a con man? Has he really fallen for Penelope? Will Stephen let this final mark go to ensure his brother’s happiness? In the end no one really knows who is conning who…