Director: Larry Charles
Starring: Sasha Baron Cohen
‘Like Borat…But, Brüno.’
Anyone can see from the trailers that this is pretty much following in the same vein as Cohen’s previous hit film ‘Borat’. This might be really off putting for many people, but I assure you, if you enjoyed ‘Borat’ and are tolerant of some graphic homo-erotic imagery, then you will love ‘Brüno’ just as much!
‘Brüno’ follows pretty much the same formula to ‘Borat’ and on a structural basis can be deemed as uninventive, even down to the chronology of character impacting events occurring in the same sequence. Cohen essentially took the idea from ‘Borat’ and applied it to his Austrian character.
But does this mean it’s no good?
Not at all!
Whilst formula movies are the forefront of mainstream cinema, there are very few which manage to emanate their own form of individuality. For example; Ben Stiller and Adam Sandler movies, while mostly greatly entertaining, broken down there is nothing special across the board with many of them. So it is only natural to expect to see the same thing from ‘Brüno’; but what probably isn’t expected, is Sasha Baron Cohen’s satirical stab at the western conception of the “Celebrity”.
‘Brüno’ loses his career in Austria, and so he goes to America to make a living as a Celebrity. On this journey, he puts himself in many embarrassing, ridiculous, odd, and hilarious situations backed up with some very stereotypical views of a homosexual man, and very graphic imagery on top. Which all combined, make for a film so painfully and tearfully funny.
You can look at this film two ways, a piece of pure entertainment, or something very clever that has launched itself into the mainstream box office to cunningly get a message across about the sorry state of what is considered a ‘Celebrity’. To highlight the point, ‘Brüno’ becomes so desperate to become a celebrity that he commits a highly controversial act to make it big in America.
The thing is with this, is that there are a lot of awkward moments when the realisation emerges of just how desperate some of the REAL people can be to become lauded by the masses. If the imagery wasn’t shocking enough, then this is too, but on a different level.
Cohen needs to be praised for this though, his intense and vulgar visual humour can be quite blinding to the point his message is hidden, and it’s possible that the imagery is the core for the majority of negativity towards the film. It would appear that excessive homosexual behaviour is just too much for an ordinary straight guy to handle, and this is even demonstrated in the film itself several times; in particular the final scene.
There have been some quotes flying around in the detrimental spectrum of comments saying things such as “The film is ideal if you’re a homosexual.”, there was even one stating that fifty percent of the movie is just “homosexual sight gags”. But, surely, that would have been obvious giving what the character of ‘Brüno’ is all about.
I would think that it would be reasonably safe to assume that an adequate bulk of negative comments originate from the male viewers.
Yes, there is boundless homosexuality to the point that might make some people sick. But it would seem for the most part that this could be an issue of pride. I’m sure we all know someone who doesn’t quite know how to behave around anything involving homosexuality, someone who feels very awkward in any kind of situation relating to it. It’s possible, perhaps even on a subconscious level, that the male audience members who proclaim to hate the film, say it because they don’t want to be deemed homosexual for witnessing such a film, given its intense imagery and core concept.
There is sound reason for being disgusted by such visions on the big screen right up in your face, but intolerance is not one of them. It is fair to say that the imagery is simply way too much for some people to handle, but it’s likely for the most part that some people didn’t give the film much of a chance to make its point because of this; hence the aforementioned blinding.
If anybody is even vaguely familiar with Cohen’s methods, then ridiculously stereotyped exaggeration and deliberate shock should be anticipated, as this is what he is all about.
This film is not for the homophobic, or intolerant. If you are able to set aside your prejudices and realise that Cohen is mocking the stereotypes of homosexuality then you’ll be able to get by. The film has been quoted as “gay porn” several times, and this is an unfair comment to make. It’s a film, and Cohen is a straight man, all the visual events in the film are nothing but farcical simulations intentionally designed to shock and perturb those audiences members who weren’t uncomfortable enough already. If you realise and accept this, then you can put it aside and find the funnies, and when you find the funnies you can witness its deeper meaning and look at that next copy of ‘Heat’ magazine in an entirely different perspective.
This is a film that needs the right kind of mentality; it will likely be a film which becomes very subjectively love/hate based primarily on its ardent visuals.
Despite having the same formula as ‘Borat’, ‘Brüno’ is a great film in its own right, and Cohen has once again made another satirical triumph with a great balance of over the top shock tactics protruding in the foreground.
Visually stupid, but actually very clever – 10 out of 10.