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  • Writer's pictureShannon Heibler

The Brothers Bloom (2008)

So I saw this pretty soon after it came out, loved it, bought it on DVD, and never watched it again until this viewing. I know I was worried about it living up to my memory (though I remembered virtually none of it), but that was silly because this movie is very close to perfect.


Only Rian Johnson could make such a quirky, verging on twee, heist comedy and make it work so well. AND have such an emotional kick at the end. Like most Johnson movies, it needs tightening up in the third act but otherwise, it's hard to find fault. The characters are lovingly crafted in three dimensions while still being storybook, broad strokes archetypes. I love Bang Bang so much. I want to be Bang Bang. I'm mostly Penelope, which is not the worst thing, but I wish I was Bang Bang.


We all know my primary gripe with contemporary film is the length. Filmmakers seem to think a movie has to be 2.5 hours long in order to spell out who characters are. I don't need flashbacks, I don't need exposition. This scene in Montenegro did so much to establish not only the brothers individually, but their dynamic with each other. Just through fidgeting with a sugar service while talking over coffee. Just incredible. (Why aren't there available gifs of the Scotch drinking camel? Why!??)


The production design is fab (that pin spot on the fake book in the vault), the costumes are peerless and I'm going to dress like that at least for the coming week. The soundtrack is a banger. The cameos are shockingly few for a Johnson film, but enjoyable. I cannot believe that my insufferable 25-year-old ass didn't pick up on the Ulysses/James Joyce references throughout (a lovely grace note of a hat on the hat that is Stephen's need to use literary references in his cons).


Mark Ruffalo is 5'8", from Kenosha (the most 5'8" city in all of Wisconsin), and charming as hell. I sorely needed to see him in a likeable movie after watching Poor Things a couple weeks ago. I am still angry about that movie. I've often felt that Mr. Ruffalo is absolutely wasted in MCU movies and shallow rom coms and this movie is why. He's at his best here and that I cared more about him than Adrian Brody, who is usually my preferred charming sadboy, says a lot.


And of course there's Rachel Weis. I continue to be shocked it took me so long to accept that I am bi given a lifetime of wide-eyed fascination with that beautiful human. What can't she do??


A week later and I'm still thrilled with this movie. It's streaming right now. I cannot recommend enough that you treat yourself to it. Especially if you're a recovering AP English nerd like me. Lots to dive into in this one without feeling self important.


Markers & pens on paper.




Takeaways:

-Hmmm... I'm not thrilled with how this turned out but I enjoyed doing it and it is the best I could muster this week as I am exhausted and there were so many moments of this movie that I loved and wanted to commemorate. Mostly I'm frustrated with the contrast in the pink section. I did brown first. It was great. Then pink and despite my deep well of pink pens and markers, I didn't have the range that made the brown and blue sections work so well. Ah well.

-When I had the idea for this, I swore the popsicles were blue, pink, brown. Wrong! They're white, pink, brown. I tried to do white with cool grays for the first section but it was terrible and I quickly switched to blue (the color of the wrappers). Sorry Rian Johnson.

-This was also born of my desire to sketch more. I want to do it. I put it in my planner almost every day. "Piano & draw." But it almost never happens. I want to have that habit of just sketching wee things when I have a moment. Do you know, I almost never doodle? I'm not a doodler despite being deeply committed to my pen & paper notes during meetings and when trying to organize my life. This is the unsurprising part: I don't doodle because they're never good enough. FFS. Just doodle it!

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