I’m sitting at home, in my comfy chair that’s positioned directly in front of my coffee table, where my laptop sit, a movie plays on the television strategically placed in my direct eye-line. I look down, I see my fingers clumsily mashing keys on the keyboard. I look up and I’m watching on of the best films I’ve seen all year, and this has been an amazing year for films.
I’m watching – shamelessly, for the third time this week – The Brothers Bloom.
Now, most good films have one of two effects on me: they either make me feel like I never want to write another word myself because I know I could never write anything as truly astonishing as what I have just witnessed or they make me want to write feverishly and neglect my other basic needs, like food or sleep. This film had the latter effect, so bear with me as a ramble.
The Brothers Bloom is an extraordinary return to what movies used to be: poignant and profound, humorous and heart-warming, elegant and exciting. It’s confidence men and their marks, it’s train rides and chases around the world, it’s good guys who aren’t really good guys and bad guys who are really bad guys, it’s shadowy figures and double-crosses, it’s Darringers up the sleeve and cackle bladders, it’s stylish suits and bowler hats. It’s 113 minutes of everything I could ever want in a movie. It’s a story whose biggest special effect is – gasp – story.
The story, for those who’ve never seen it, is about two brothers – that grew up playing the confidence game – who decide on one last big con and one last mark, a girl, who complete need for adventure and excitement – along with her random expertise – cleverly unravels their carefully thought-out plans at every turn.
The brothers are exceptionally portrayed by Mark Ruffalo and Adrien Brody, two actors whose work I have greatly admired for some time now. Rachel Wiesz is their agoraphobic-yet-action-starved mark. And Rinko Kikuchi is their mostly mute explosives expert “fifth Beatle,” Bang Bang.
Ah, Bang Bang.
Good God, I wish I could write a character like Bang Bang. A character who has, at most, three lines in the entire film yet says more with her facial expressions and background gestures than most characters do in entire films.
There is nothing about this film that betrays itself. The script was methodically written, to the point where it just doesn’t seem fair that someone was else be smart or clever enough to have written it. The acting is suburb. Every shot could be a work of art. And the score is a wonderful mixture of childlike whimsy and haunting, aching beauty.
I felt the same way watching The Brothers Bloom as I did the first time – and, well, each and every time after that – I saw The Princess Bride; completely awe-inspired. My eyes were wide, trying to take in every minute detail, every vivid color. My mouth was open, attempting to speak but only uttering giggles of joy and wonder. When I see a film this good, I am a child again. The only thing missing from the film was a sword fight.
I like sword fights.
To be honest, I have only one regret with this film and that’s that I didn’t see it in theater but, to be fair, that’s not the film’s fault.
Y’see, I don’t really watch movies, I experience them.
I know that sounds like a completely pretentious douchebag thing to say, but hear me out.
When I watch a film, especially in a darkened theater on a larger than life screen, I get sucked into the film. I’m not just some guy sitting in an uncomfortable seat, eating stale popcorn, wishing the kid in front of me would stop talking on his cell phone. I become a part of the film.
When I watch a film, it’s more like I am an invisible character in that film; a ghost experiencing everything the other characters are, but am unable to say or do anything to change the outcome of the story’s events.
I’ve been told that, when watching a film, especially in a theater, I twitch and jerk in my seat as the action progresses, as if the sword were in my hand or I was the one swinging on a rope to safety from the burning building or being riddled with bullets.
I’m not sure why exactly I’m sharing all of this with you; the way I watch movies and whatnot. It’s just another useless factoid I record and publish on this blog for whoever may be interested to see.
All I know is I need to stop watching really good movies right before work, because I’m sitting at the circulation desk at the library, serving its patrons, and my fingers are quite literally itching with the need to write.
“There’s no such thing as an unwritten life; just a poorly written one.”