After Stephen got shot by Diamond Dog's men right in front of his Brother Bloom he reveals to him that it was only fake blood and he pulled of the ultimate con. He says farewell to Bloom, that he shouldn't ever return to St. Petersburg and cannot see him for some time. But already shortly after, when he is driving in the car with Penelope, Bloom realizes that the blood was indeed real blood and that his brother is in fact dead.

Yet when he sits in the grass crying over his brother, he repeats what Stephen once said:

The perfect con is one where everyone involved gets just the thing they wanted.

seeming appeased and walking into a future with Penelope.

The way he says that and seeing that Penelope is most probably the thing Bloom wanted and vice-versa seems to imply that Stephen also got what he wanted (and thus achieved the perfect con), yet he died. So what did Bloom want to say with that quote? Does this mean that Stephen really wanted to die? But why?

4 Answers 4


When Bloom and Penelope got attracted and talked aboard the Fidele, Bloom told about his brother and his dreams. While it may be part of the con at that point it sounds real. He tells about his brother's dream to do the perfect con, about making the made-up story true, and how he thinks Stephen might have even liked it to have died at midnight on a beach during a trip to Jakarta as that would be something "real". Bloom then tells Penelope that it is a trap to try to make your own story true.

Dying for his brother, to complete the story, does fit into this pattern. Stephen says that it was always only about Bloom, and it is certainly not a coincidence that Bloom is the one who is called by the Family name; he is the main person of the movie. Stephen is the creator of a story for his brother; his job is done at the end of the movie.

Of course that is an explanation that only works in movies; in reality stories and lives rarely have fixed and clear starts and ends. The death of a character in a movie is a clear symbol that his part is completed. The character in this movie served a single purpose, to care for the happiness of his brother; by making the story real he spares the couple to start their relationship on a lie.

  • Thanks for the excellent answer. Seems I didn't remember the dialogue on the ship too well. "it is certainly not a coincidence that the movie and the pair is named after Bloom" - Then don't hesitate to bring this aspect together with your explanations into the respective discussion.
    – Napoleon Wilson
    May 6, 2014 at 17:13
  • Hm, if it is really their last name (which sounds reasonable) then I have to rephrase that a little...
    – his
    May 7, 2014 at 11:35
  • I for myself would rather want you to put your ideas from here into that other question as an answer, since this answer here sounds very reasonable (and the fact that it is their last name from the other answers seems only specualtion either, and I like your approach very much). In fact I liked your previous version a bit better (but nevermind, it doesn't change too much). Still no matter if it is their last name or not, your views would still make for a very good answer over there.
    – Napoleon Wilson
    May 7, 2014 at 14:42

"Bloom, the day I con you is the day I die." Penelope isn't the mark, Bloom is. Penelope is one of Stephen's characters, Stephen was just lucky enough to find her in real life. The con was for Bloom to have "an unwritten life" for that was what Bloom wanted. In Stephen's eyes, he was nothing be the orchestrator of Bloom's life, always trying to write a story where he gets what he wants, but what Bloom wants is an unwritten life. So Stephen pulls off the perfect con, where everyone involved gets just the thing they wanted. Penelope gets Bloom and her adventure. Bloom gets an unwritten life. Stephen gets his brother's happiness. The day he conned Bloom was the day he died.


If you don't understand why Stephan wanted to die, then you have never been the primary parent, before the age 16, to a sibling. A relationship of such is usually forged in a fire of hate and frozen in cold, lonely winds. Being a parent at that young of age doesn't allow you to have feelings or show weakness. You live through your siblings. Every decision, in a life of such, has dire consequences. Usually the parent kid doesn't make to big of a mistake and they grow old and cope, but Stephan wasn't so lucky. It was stated that bloom was left with diamond dog some how. During this time he was molested. why Stephan got separated doesn't matter to him. Stephan failed the one person he truly loved. The person who thought the world of him. Whether bloom blames Stephan is irrelevant. Stephan blames Stephan. This guilt, I can guaranteed, follows him everywhere. Stephan life ended that day stephan obviously has a drinking problem. Throughout the whole movie Stephan is doing nothing but protect bloom. Stephan does this to make up for everything he felt he did wrong. So in the end Stephan sets bloom up with the perfect life. He clearly meant for his brother bloom to fall in love with the last mark. THE ANSWER, in my opinion, is hat Stephan died to show his brother how much he loved him. Dying for someone is the ultimate scarfice.


He doesn't really die!!!! Why does he bleed down his arm when he is shot in the side? Because he cut himself, as a symbol of cutting ties with his brother....you were all duped. A man shot in the kidneys would be able to jump up like he did..no he put a little real blood around his hand to make sure his brother thought he was dead...because he knew that his ways corrupted him and he wanted to give him everything.

Also the blood had turned brown on the shirt...a big handprint of brown blood....but his shirt is covered with fake blood as he sits down in the chair. Referring to him dying the day he cons his brother, is that he dies inside because his brother was the story of his life. Go back to the very beginning...they were all they had.

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