Link: Brothers Bloom
Summary: Two con-artist brothers hatch a scheme to swindle a wealthy heiress. But their plans get a bit out of hand when one of the brothers finds himself falling in love with the mark.
Thoughts: While a con-artist falling in love with his mark sets the stage for a classic sort of male-protagonist romantic comedy that any Hollywood hack could put together, writer/director Rian Johnson brings a very unique and welcoming voice and spirit to the story. The first half of this film was great. I was fascinated by the various larger-than-life characters, the hilarious gags, and the engaging dialog. And then came along the second half, when the story tries to do way too much. It’s as if Johnson couldn’t decide whether or not he wanted this to be a romantic comedy, a buddy movie, a heist movie, or a comedic thriller, and tried to make it all of them at once. It just didn’t work; too many conflicts were begging for attention to the point where none of the resolutions felt very strong. There’s the con-man’s love story, the con-man’s relationship with his brother, the heist itself, plus some convoluted plot involving a villain from the past who shows up half-way through to complicate things. It was just a mess. By the time the film ended, I had disengaged with most of the story. If he had stuck with the light-hearted simplicity of the first half, keeping the story focused on just one over-arching conflict, this would’ve been a fantastic film. But it didn’t.