In a series of unending blockbuster releases, it is easy to forget about the recent release of a film called The Brothers Bloom, starring Adrien Brody, Rachel Weisz, and Mark Ruffalo. The story is simple enough: Two brothers turn to the art of con after being shuffled from foster home to foster home. Stephen (Ruffalo) is the mastermind who comes up with the plays and Bloom (Brody) is the vessel used to carry out the role necessary for each scenario. After over twenty years of playing someone else, however, Bloom begins having an existential dilemma and vows he's quitting the life of a con man for good. Until Stephen lures him back with the perfect final con.
The mark is an over the top eccentric millionaire named Penelope Stamp (Weisz). Stephen lays a trap for her in the way of sending Bloom down a hill on a bicycle with a banana seat so that he can "accidentally" get hit by the yellow Lamborghini she always seems to be crashing. What they could not have calculated into the equation is that Penolope would have an epileptic seizure after mowing him down and thus not be very remorseful for her actions.
After an awkward first twenty minutes of getting to know one another, Penelope admits that being a shut-in has somewhat limited her conversation skills. Bloom is oddly endeared by this offbeat quality as he watches her perform all of the hobbies (freestyle rapping, piano playing, violin playing, unicycling, et cetera) she has collected in her years as a hermit. Her trusting nature racks an already compunctious Bloom with even more guilt.
Penelope, enthralled by the part Bloom is playing, does exactly as Stephen had planned and tags along with them on a boat to France where, in their alter egos as antique dealers, the Brothers Bloom are slated to make a sale. Along for the ride is their con comrade and resident explosive expert, Bang Bang.
As the elements of the con continue to go exactly as preordained by Stephen, Bloom grows increasingly irritated with his brother's ability to paint him as a "Dostoyevskian antihero" and with the fact that he is falling in love with Penelope against all of his best efforts not to.
Writer-director Rian Johnson's script is well-crafted and hits all of the standard plot points, but falls short toward the end when an array of forced occurrences are thrown in to get a few more explosions onscreen (maybe it's that whole competing with the blockbuster thing). Its main flaw is that, for a film that is supposed to be quagmiric in plot, the ending is none too stunning.
What makes the film worth seeing is Adrien Brody's seasoned performance as a high-strung, aberrant bundle of tension and emotional captivity. Ruffalo and Weisz deliver notable performances as well, but Brody easily outshines both of them.