Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Charlatans in Love

Bedtime Story sees David Niven stumble across a brash, fellow conman, played by Marlon Brando, in the French Riveria. They make a beautiful woman their wager to decide who is the most skilled confidence trickster and set about scheming their routes into her purse and panties. Eventually remade as Dirty Rotten Scoundrels this charming, frothy film scoots along with a witty script and two exceedingly competent, very watchable leads. It unravels a little in the final third as the con eventually runs out of steam it's still a fine film for a Sunday slouch.

Rian Johnson's cinematic riff on con men, The Brothers Bloom, tries hard to recreate the insouciance and frivolity of older films like Bedtime Story but falls short by cramming in too much plot. Ruffalo and Brody, as the eponymous protagonists, learn their craft at a young age and many years later at the peak of their talents try and fleece an eccentric beauty, Rachel Weisz, from her many millions, however their carefully laid plan is disrupted by her madcap enthusiasm and a never ending stream of plot twists. Though just as stylishly made as Brick, the director's debut feature, there's a little more substance here than that Hammett/Dawson's Creek mashup and it canters along quite amiably with a snappy script and some nice sequences but the second half falters, struggling under the weight of all that plot when he should have had the confidence in his characters and their actors.

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