Sunday, January 4, 2009

Rinko Kikuchi in The Brothers Bloom

A little side-note before we begin. The film The Brothers Bloom was originally supposed to be released on October 3rd, 2008, but Summit Entertainment in their infinite wisdom, decided to push back the release date to December 19, 2008. It was then delayed again from December to May 15, 2009 (limited) and May 29, 2008 (wide). I was fortunate enough to catch this gem at the Toronto International Film Festival, and so I hope all of you readers can bear with me while I gush about a supporting actress that no one else has likely seen. One of the reasons I chose Rinko (other than her being the most memorable supporting actress I've seen in 2008), is because I hope that this post will convince at least one reader to go out and see this film (and wonderful performance) when it does eventually come out in theatres. I will try to keep this post as spoiler free as possible.

Rinko Kikuchi plays Bang Bang, superb con artist and accomplice to the Brothers Bloom. The job that is given to her by director Rian Johnson is not an easy one. She has to share the screen with the likes of Rachel Weisz, Adrien Brody, and Mark Ruffulo, not to mention that her character is almost completely silent throughout the film. However, above all of this she still manages to steal the show right out from under them.

As I said before the character is almost completely silent throughout the film (territory I'm sure Ms. Kikuchi is familiar with), and Rinko must completely rely on glances, facial expressions, and gestures to express anything and everything she is feeling. Of course Rinko goes far beyond physical mannerisms and nuances, she creates a being that seems to be operating on a level higher than any of the con men in their troupe, and perhaps the audience as well. I am almost certain that Bang Bang is in absolute control of almost every situation that she is put in, and is generally able to maintain her composure at all times. This could have been a problem with a less talented actress because playing a character that always maintains composure and sees and knows everything, could have turned out quite dull. Lucky for us Rinko knows how to maximize her opportunities.

Although Bang Bang seems to be completely capable to do anything and everything, Rinko plays her with a certain sense of improvisation and openness. Any task that looks as though it required much planning and construction seems to be done on a complete whim by Bang Bang. This leaves a sense of playfulness when we see her onscreen that keeps the audience wondering what she will do next. When we see her working alongside the other actors, she adds touches of humor to every scene through her actions and reactions, which elevates and adds dimensions to the scenes she is in. She gives off energy that the other actors are clearly aware of and react to, which is generally the job of a supporting actress, no?

There is also the fact that Bang Bang is so damn cool. Just take a look at her wardrobe. She is easily the most awesome looking con man alive. This part could have been played in a way that made the character completely cold and inorganic, but Rinko plays her in such a way that even if the audience isn't playing at the same level as Bang Bang, we still end up wanting to know her or be friends with her. Or be her.

I know I left the movie theatre after the screening of The Brothers Bloom thanking whoever it was who had the great idea of casting Rinko Kikuchi in this part. I'm sure when you see her performance, you will be thinking the same thing.

- Cigarettes

[This post is part of the Supporting Actress Class of 2008 blog-a-thon happening over at StinkyLulu. You should head on over there if you haven't already and check out more of the entries from all the other bloggers. I know that's where I'll be.]


Anonymous said...

I saw Brothers Bloom in Toronto and while Rinko is good, she does not steal the film from the other stars.

Matt said...

looks like a good one to anticipate!

amybell said...

i just saw this film and loved it but bang bang was by far my favorite part. i couldnt agree more with your sentiments. the film itself shifted quite a bit from a fast paced comedy to an almost philisophical ending. bang bang's exit definitely left a hole. (i'm assuming by now spoilers dont matter haha)

Anonymous said...

Bang-bang is a great character.

Even if mute, she carries a lot of expression, a little off-balance, which made her a remarkable character of the movie.