Sunday, 26 July 2009

The Thin White Dude's Reviews - Bruno

Also known as the Sacha Baron Cohen Film Which Just Happens To Be The Most Highly Anticipated Comedy Of The Year. This film marks the return of Sacha Baron Cohen in a leading capacity, and with this riding on the cotails of his comedy masterpiece Borat, it is inevitable, rather unfortunately, that the two will be compared, rather than being able to stand on their own two feet. Both are shot similarly, plot actually is slightly similar, although jokes and characters are different, so for Cohen, who has put alot into this film, it is make or break. To kick off with the positives regarding this film, who can fault the performance of Sacha Baron Cohen in this film? Whilst certainly not as prolific as most of his peers in comedy such as Will Ferrell and Jack Black, Cohen is a complete perfectionist in creating his characters and bringing them to life. He is one of the rarest comedians in that nowadays comedy is a genre like the science fiction/fantasy and horror genres, in that the genre's status has been reduced to a lower level of standard by many critics and members of the film community. I cannot say that part of it isn't the fault of the comedians at times, in that there is a lot of crap out there. Cohen as a comedian however, is a genius, an exception to the rule, both critically acclaimed and universally embraced by a loving audience. The attention of course, he completely deserves. A completely flipside to the racist Kazakhstani Borat, here Bruno is a flamboyant Gay Austrian reporter, so Cohen is playing a completely different ball game (really no pun intended, I know it sounds terrible considering the topic matter). Nonetheless, this is certainly right now my favourite lead acting role of the year. Cohen completely deserves recognition for his genius. Also, the dialogue which he has written for the character, alongside his fellow screenwriters Anthony Hine, Dan Mazer and Jeff Schaffer, makes sure that every little mispronunciation and tick (such as the mispronunciation of "Ich," the German word for "I," instead of saying the word itself) is spot on and helps Cohen completely perfect another unique and great comedic character. Also, Larry Charles once again proves to be an appropriate director in collaboration with Cohen. Having directed Borat, Charles employs much of the same directorial techniques in this as he did in Borat, proving that old tricks can still work if done appropriately (nod to all directors). And to end really, some of the gags are absolutely fantastic. There are some moments in the filmwhich are genuinely rip-roaringly hilarious throughout, but I do not wish to spoil them, for I feel that the best thing with this is to go in blank. After having loved Borat, I purposefully avoided trailers for this film, so as to not let my hype levels go too much in one direction. It is in this manner that I think the film would work best. While certainly in my opinion a great comedy, Bruno is not without it's flaws. Now really, I hate to do this, but I must compare this to Borat in some way because despite obvious differences, there are many clear similarities. For starters, at times I feel with regards to the gags in the film, while many are genuinely hilarious others do seem to be there for pure shock value. I think that the screenwriters were under genuine pressure to follow up on audience expectations on Borat, and so instead of taking time to write more elaborate and creative gags, they do after resort to the most obscene or disgusting option possible (and that is no exaggeration). It;s not that it is too far, I was not bothered by that, it's juist that it does disrupt the balance of genuine humour and shock value, and at times leans too much into the latter without forgetting the neccessity of the former's precence. It is a fine line to balance, and at times they do end up running into issues as a result. Also, unlike Borat, which is a film in which you do by the end despite near-insanity throughout end up rooting for the character. For me personally, I felt that Bruno was a character that was perhaps less devoloped by Cohen and co, and so that for me is a real problem, because a lack of emotional connection or empathy with the characters is one of the main reasons these previously mentioned genres often never get equal represention or accreditation. Borat does this perfectly, and that was proved by the fact that even in the traditionally conservative USA, that he was lauded in numerous critics as the recipient of their best actor award and his winner for Best Actor at the Golden Globes. Unfortunately though, I do not believe that Bruno is as dense, or will be remembered as fondly as Borat. However, there is much to be enjoyed from this film, and it is miles ahead of what stands for a "successful comedy" in cinemas these days. Sacha Baron Cohen gives a brilliant performance, the scripted dialogue is solid, most of the gags are very funny and Larry Charles does a great job on keeping control of the anarchy. Or, and one more thing, in a similar role to that of Ken Davitian as Asamat in Borat, an unknown foreign language-speaking actor is cast, and in this film, Swedish actor Gustaf Hammarsten gives a charming performance as Lutz, who you really sympathise with more than Bruno. Anyway, good movie, watch, blog out!

The Thin White Dude's Prognosis - 8.2/10

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