Bil’s rating (out of 5): B.
USA, 2008. Endgame Entertainment, Ram Bergman Productions, The Weinstein Company. Screenplay by Rian Johnson. Cinematography by Steve Yedlin. Produced by Ram Bergman, James D. Stern. Music by Nathan Johnson. Production Design by Jim Clay. Costume Design by Beatrix Aruna Pasztor. Film Editing by Gabriel Wrye. Toronto International Film Festival 2008.
Imagine a movie in which every character, actor and prop is fighting to win a Manic Pixie Dream Girl contest and you have this irritating follow-up to Rian Johnson’s breakthrough indie hit Brick. Mark Ruffalo and Adrien Brody play orphaned brothers who have grown up in foster homes, their whole lives spent working expert con jobs that, since childhood, they have pulled off while decked in vaudeville tuxedos and bowler caps (don’t cringe, there’s more). Now adults who are slowly growing apart, ambitious Ruffalo is anxious to continue his effect on the unsuspecting world while romantic and moody Brody longs to give it all up for love, telling his brother that he wants to get out of the grift for good. Ruffalo agrees so long as he participates in one last job, the conning of a multi-millionaire heiress (Rachel Weisz) who favours fedoras (I told you there was more), convincing her to fund their recovery of a rare antique. Weisz swallows the bait and goes them one further, insisting on joining them and their explosives expert (named Bang Bang, God save us all, played by mostly wordless Rinko Kikuchi) on their journeys from Prague to Mexico as they participate in a number of adventures that range from the falsely controlled to the wholly unexpected. A plot that is meant to deepen and spread out with every twist actually feels like it changes its mind in confusion every five minutes, obsessed with the cuteness of its non-specific period (there is modern technology and a lot of thrift-store clothing) and completely, blissfully unaware of very little entertainment it contains within its gorgeously photographed frames.