The Brothers Bloom (2009) [Blu-ray]

Genre(s): Comedy / Crime / Drama
Summit Entertainment || PG13 - 113 minutes - $34.99 || January 12, 2010
Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2010-01-31


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.
Video

.:: A U D I O ::.
Audio

B L U - R A Y
.:: EXCLUSIVES ::.

Blu-ray Exclusives

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: Rian Johnson
Writer(s): Rian Johnson (written by)
Cast: Rachel Weisz, Adrien Brody, Mark Ruffalo, Robbie Coltrane


Theatrical Release Date: May 15, 2009


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • Feature Commentary
  • Featurette
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Storyboard Comparison
  • Image Gallery


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Widescreen (2.40)
  • English (DTS-HD MA 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish

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.::THE FILM::.

The Brothers Bloom is writer-director Rian Johnsonís follow-up his surprisingly fantastic 2005 film, Brick starring Joseph Gordon Levitt. But often sophomore efforts after promising starts tend to greatly disappoint (Kevin Smith and Mallrats anyone? **Although it's garnered more fans since) but Johnsonís latest once again surprised me as it wasnít your typical con genre flick.

The film stars Mark Ruffalo and Adrien Brody as brothers Stephen and Bloom (respectively), two conmen who started their games as boys as they moved from one foster home to another and getting kicked out for their bad behavior. Grown up, Stephen is the brains of the duo, who also work with an explosives expert Japanese woman named Bang Bang (RINKO KIKUCHI), while Bloom lured the bait in and swindle them out of their money.

Bloom, however, is tired of the life; he wants more out of it than conning people so he breaks it off with his brother. After only 3 months, Stephen manages to find his brother and offers a proposal: one last con and then Bloom is free, a proposal for which Bloom begrudgingly agrees to. This new con is to take a couple million from a reclusive New Jersey heiress Ė and epileptic hobby-stealer Ė named Penelope (RACHEL WEISZ). The scam involves traveling to Prague in order to get a rare book worth twice the price Penelope is willing to pay. Unfortunately for the brothers, things donít go as planned as a former mentor turned enemy comes back into their lives.

As with any con movie, you get your typical whoís playing who and all that jazz but itís the character development that propels the story, although itís not to say the story isnít compelling, because it is. Youíve got an interesting dynamic between these brothers where one resents the other but also still loves him. This relationship remains throughout, sometimes subtly, other times underneath the con part of the story and especially out in front during the finale which takes an unexpected turn.

The performances also drive the movie with Adrien Brody once again showing his Oscar win wasnít a fluke. Iím not saying this was an award-worthy performance, but when you co-star with the likes of Rachel Weisz and Mark Ruffalo, two excellent actors in their own rights, it says something when you can stand out and give one heck of a performance with what couldíve been a limited or one-dimensional role. Rachel Weisz also turns in a fine performance in a role that in someone elseís hands mightíve been too over-the-top. And Ruffalo, although have never received much award praise over the years, has developed into a fine dramatic actor who has so much possibilities.

Personally, I enjoy all kinds of con movies from Oceanís Eleven (although thatís more heist) to The Sting, a classic that is a must see by any fan of cinema. And that is how one can describe writer-director Rian Johnson as he has shown an appreciation for classic movies while making his own mark while paying homage to the past.

I thought The Brothers Bloom was a fantastic follow-up to an already fantastic freshman effort in Brick. Some might be a tad disappointed or find some things a bit off, but if you appreciate some classic cinema, you certainly will enjoy this one as well. If you liked or loved Brick, do not hesitate to pick this one up.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

Feature Commentary Ė Writer/Director Rian Johnson and Producer Ram Bergman present an amiable track where the two give info on how certain scenes were shot, coming up with the script and other aspects of filmmaking.

From Sketch to Celluloid (12:30) is the original ďchicken scratchĒ storyboards and final storyboards of the movie and a comparison to the finished film. Iíve never found these storyboard comparisons that interesting and this is no exception.

In Bloom: Behind the Scenes (15:37) is fairly self-explanatory as we get to see a raw look at the filmmakers making the movie. Thankfully itís merely not one of these lame sound bite featurettes and instead gives you an inside look at the cast and crew preparing for scenes. I find these far more fascinating than your typical EPK featurettes.

Deleted Scenes (32:48) Ė No, thatís not a misprint, there are 20 deleted scenes totaling over 30-minutes. These are accompanied with an optional commentary by the writer/director which he suggests having on. Actually, a couple of these scenes werenít bad but the director admits they were cut to keep the pace going. One scene, however, was pretty heavy and featured a nice performance from Robbie Coltrane.

Last on the disc is an Image Gallery.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

The Brothers Bloom is presented with a 2.40 aspect ratio and in 1080p high-definition. The picture actually doesnít look too bad with nice detail levels from the faces and other foreground objects to the background elements as well. I wouldnít categorize this as an amazing video transfer, but it is impressive enough.

The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio is effective since a good portion of the film is filled with dialogue coming very clearly out of the center channel while the front and rear channels were primarily used for the score. The track overall was evenly distributed rather than a focus on one channel over the other.



.::OVERALL::.

The Brother Bloom is yet another near home-run from a new writer-director. After re-establishing the 1930s film noir genre set in modern times, heís now tackled the art of the con with deeper character development and some great performances. The Blu-ray has some decent features and the audio and video are both good enough to purchase over the DVD.