Opening Night of the 2009 Independent Film Festival of Boston is a wrap. Tonight’s kickoff feature was The Brothers Bloom, Rian Johnson’s often hilarious, awfully sweet con-man comedy.
There was plenty of rain in beautiful Somerville, Massachusetts, but the lines were still impressively long. I was greeted warmly by a bunch of giddy volunteers, clearly revved for the coming festivities (this year’s press passes have a bar code, so the volunteers all had their reader guns ready to go…)
The Brothers Bloom is a fine choice to open an indie festival. Johnson’s script has a wonderful lack of convention, and the first two-thirds of the film boast some impressively goofy absurdist comedy. Just as Johnson did a twist-and-shake to the noir genre with his debut Brick, he does the same to the con game movie with The Brothers Bloom. There’s a slow dip in the energy before the closing act, but much of the film is a celebration of style and well-paced, extremely well-timed humor. Wes Anderson would enjoy it immensely.
After the film, Rian Johnson joined the near-sold-out crowd for some festival Q&A, and he was an open, humble guest. I asked about the film’s fantastic introduction, a playful setup brimming with finely composed shots and loads of laughs, narrated by the great Ricky Jay. It was so reminscent of Paul Thomas Anderson’s Magnolia… was that intended?
Johnson admitted he was a bit afraid that hiring Jay for the narration might be too closely related to his work in Magnolia. But in the long run, he figured, those Magnolia fans might get it and appreciate it. Rian, here’s one fan that did.
By the way, when talking about the editing process, Johnson also happened to mention that lull before the final act. What an honest guy and, jeez, what an observant critic I am, huh? Yeeeeeee!
If you’re in Boston, what are you seeing this weekend?
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