114 minutes| U.S.A.| 2008| Colour| D-Cinema

On the surface it’s a breezy caper movie following fraternal con artists across the globe, but probe a little deeper and writer-director Rian Johnson’s second feature is a touchingly reflective look at the fictions we create to foster the illusion of happiness. Mark Ruffalo, the elder Bloom, is the master of intricate and lucrative confidence tricks in which his brother, Adrien Brody, always plays his part to perfection. When the latter falls in love with their latest ‘mark’, alluringly ditsy Rachel Weisz as a lonely millionairess, is he simply filling his role as usual or are his emotions genuine?
Having updated yesteryear’s gumshoe pictures in 2005’s Brick, Johnson now brings a whole new layer of feeling to ’60s-style international caper flicks, but he never neglects the tantalising switchback storyline. To some extent, it’s an affectionate pastiche, yet the connecting notion of Brody’s desire for ‘an unscripted life’ is so hauntingly resonant that there’s an authentic heartbeat throughout. Notes by Trevor Johnston

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