Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Bloom Rhymes

Rian Johnson's screenplay for The Brothers Bloom is really quite wonderful. At some point, I'll probably tell you plenty about it. For now, I simply want to share something about the film's prologue.

Until the opening credits roll, the film is narrated in rhyme. Well, that's not strictly true - the combination of narration and dialogue together give rise to the rhyming couplets. To fully understand them, you have to see the images that go alongside, but even without, the rhyme gives a good idea of the screenplay's tone, charm and good, solid sense of fun.

So, with no accompanying spoiler material, here's the rhyming accompaniment to the first few minutes of The Brothers Bloom. Enjoy. And if some of it is a little confusing, trust that it isn't when you see the actions, as it were.

As far as con man stories go,
I think I’ve heard them all.
Of grifters, ropers, faro fixers,
tales drawn long and tall.

But if one bears a bookmark
in the confidence man’s tome, 'twould be that of Penelope,
and of the brothers Bloom.

At ten and thirteen Bloom and Stephen
(the younger and the old)
had been through several foster families -
thirty eight, all told.

Mischief moved them on in life,
and moving kept them close.
For Bloom had Stephen, Stephen Bloom,
and both had more than most.

Another home, another main street.
Stephen looked around,
then summed the burgh up thusly:
"Bloom, we’ve hit a one hat town."

One theater. One car wash.
One cafe. One park. One cat.
Which, through some mishap, had one leg -
"Sweet Jesus. Look at that."

One school, which meant
one tightknit group of local well-off kids.
Their pocket-change bought rocket pops,
The brothers, "Pixie Stix."

They were the ‘they’. All well loved,
rooted, happy as you please.
Always there. In every town.
"The playground bourgeoisies."

Could he simply "Talk to her!"
Just drop his fears and go?
Leave his brother in the woods,
and join the children? No.

"What’s doing?" "What?" "You shuffle
when you’re thinking something through.
So whatcha thinking?" "Not a lot"
This wasn’t really true.

'Cause in the root of Stephen’s psyche,
something now began.
A seed of grand epiphany.
A hook. A tale. "A plan"

A fiction made for profit,
in which both boys played a part.
A simple con in fifteen steps.
"And this is where we start."

And then, as if a curtain
had been pulled back from the sky...
Some barrier within the younger
Bloom was broken. "Hi."

So Bloom performed his role
in Stephen’s story to a T.
And being who he wasn’t,
could be as he wished to be.

"Oh - kay. How’s it going
on the playground front? " "It's great"
"So, on to step eleven, then.
The Tale. You tell them -" "Wait..."

Must the numbers rattle on?
Must the fiction end?
"I think I need more time to win their..."
"Bloom. They’re not your friends.

They’re part of this, and this aint real.
Remember, it’s a con.
And when it’s done, we’ve just us.
And we’ll be moving on.

So, the tale. You tell them there’s a..."
"hermit in the woods.
A one eyed, steel toothed vagabond...
...with blood red eyes?" "That's good.

He stopped you coming home from school..."
"And told me of a cave" "What kind of cave?"
"A cave of wonders."
"Pffft ha." "Shut up Dave."

"At noon on every Sunday,
there appears a ball of light,
which flutters like a butterfly..."
"A will-o-whisp?" "That's right.

It guides you..." "...if you can keep up..."
" where the treasures lay."
"So where’s this cave?" "Yeah, where?"
"Ah-ha. The hermit didn’t say."

"He got this greedy glinting look,
the filthy red-eyed leech...
and said he’d tell for thirty bucks."
"Well that’s just two bucks each!"

So Sunday came and straight from church,
into the woods Bloom led.
They stopped. Their hearts leapt.
There it was. "Just like the hermit said!"

For just one moment, Bloom forgot
himself and ran too fast.
He’d catch the light and find the treasure...
But the moment passed.

They didn’t catch the will-o-wisp,
but didn’t really care.
"It seems to me that in the end,
the perfect con is where

each one involved gets just the thing
they wanted. " "Yeah I guess so."
Our fledgling thieves were satisfied.
The children’s parents, less so.

A bitter ending? Maybe.
But there’s sweetness in the mix.
The brothers Bloom had found their calling.
As shown in number six.

‘Cut’ meant to negotiate,
‘percent’ percentage deal.
‘O’Henry’s’ was the town’s one dry
clean shop. "So how’s it feel?"

In truth, young Bloom won’t know
for twenty years just how he felt.
And so, we’ll skip ahead now in
our story. "Let ‘em melt."

Apologies to Rian Johnson for any bad scantion in my division of the text into these couplets.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I hate you, Brendon, you get all the best scripts...