'Bloom'-ing Excited for the 'Brothers'

After assembling Brick, the modern high-school neo noir flick that features a phenomenal performance from the blossoming Joseph Gordon-Levitt, director Rian Johnson now has the challenge of making his second film as good -- if not better -- than the one that flicked on a neon sign above his head with the world "promise" flashing in bold, bright letters . Johnson's got the talent, and the early warning signs point to The Brothers Bloom being a solid sophomore effort. When the news first reached me about his second film, "ecstatic" would properly describe my enthusiasm. But maybe not for the same reasons as most.

Brothers Bloom detours from the director's indie powerhouse, focusing more on an upbeat rhythm with stylized caricature performances. It features Mark Ruffalo (Zodiac, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) as a con-artist who has pressured his brother, played by Adrien Brody (The Pianist, Darjeeling Limited) to work into one more con for a cash out of over $2 million buks. Their mark? Penelope, which so happens to be the film's original working title, played by the effervescent Rachel Weisz (Fountain, Constant Gardener). She's a shut-in with a penchant for mastering the arts of ping-pong, board kicking, and driving her sexy-as-hell Lamborghini through a wall. It's an upbeat film that slyly works as a throwback to kitschy '50s caper flicks, featuring names like "The Belgian" (Robbie Coltraine, Hagrid from the Harry Potter films) and "Bang Bang" (Rinko Kikuchi, Babel) as the players in their grand plan.

Interestingly, it's not so much the quirky little premise, the presence of Academy-award winning actors Brody and Weisz, or even the director himself that sparks my excitement to its highest degree. That distinction belongs to the opportunity to see Academy-award nominated actress Rinko Kikuchi again on the silver screen. Easily the best thing about Babel, she possesses a certain kind of energy in here eyes and body movement that lean me to believe that she could be quite a chameleon. In Brothers Bloom, she's the "muscle" behind Brody and Mark Ruffalo's brotherly outfit, an explosives expert who's an "artist with nitroglycerin" -- which, in its goofy scripting architecture, makes you fall just a little bit more for Johnson's writing capabilities.

After seeing the trailer again, it's easy to see how The Brothers Bloom might possess enough gusto to cement itself as a substantial entry in the caper-comedy sect of cinema. However, time will tell whether Johnson's hard-edged eye for cynicism and lyrical prose will play out in a film with several Hollywood A-list players. Personally, I couldn't be more excited for Johnson; Brick's a great popcorn dialogue flick with fresh performance to match its strychnine tempo, and Johnson's clearly the right kind of guy to carry that flavor of cinema into uncharted territories. With his penmanship and singular style, it's hard to imagine any film rich with dated influence that he couldn't mix into a strong cocktail of cinematic flavor.


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