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Brothers Bloom, The


Stars: Adrien Brody, Mark Ruffalo, Rachel Weisz, Maximilian Schell, Rinko Kikuchi, Robbie Coltrane

Director: Rian Johnson

Films about con-men are rarely as richly entertaining as this one. It's the kind of film where characters walk around in black clothes and bowler hats and you need to keep an eye on what's happening in the background. And, just when you think a con is at an end, you find another few stages in the scheme are still be played out.

The brothers Bloom, troublemaking orphans who lurch larcenously from one set of foster parents to another, discover crime at an early age. Now in their thirties, they have invented the most elaborate and convoluted stings known to man. Or woman, as the latest 'mark' for Stephen (Ruffalo) and his jaded brother Bloom (Brody) is a very eccentric millionairess widow , Penelope (Weisz) who has become an expert at dozens of 'hobbies', such as playing a range of musical instruments, inventing pinhole cameras and practising kung fu. Assuming an American accent seems to do wonders for British actresses, and Weisz is brighter here than she has been for some time.

Eager to join the realms of what she believes to be antiques smuggling, Penelope is soon on planes, boats and trains to eastern Europe with the brothers and their female accomplice Bang Bang (Kikuchi), tracked by their old Russian adversary Diamond Dog (Schell in a rare latter-day appearance).

Dixieland music accompanies the edgy capers, as you try to guess who's conning whom. When, if ever, does the action turn serious - or is it still an (even bigger) con? Reminiscent of the earlier films of Beatles director Richard Lester, this will certainly keep you on your toes as well as right royally entertained.

David Quinlan

USA/Romania/Czech Republic/Serbia/Montenegro 2008. UK Distributor: Optimum. Colour by FotoKem.
114 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 0, Swearing 1.

Review date: 29 May 2010