Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Bruno: Movie Review

Bruno: Movie Review

Rating: 6/10
Cast: Sacha Baron Cohen, Gustaf Hammarsten
Director: Larry Charles
Unless you've been living on the moon, chances are you'll have heard all about Bruno.
Thanks to the endless barrage of recent publicity, there can't be anyone who's not witnessed Sacha Baron Cohen's gay Austrian fashionista in some form or another.
But under all the constant hype, there is a film out there - following on from the shock and awe(some) tactics of Cohen's last outing on screen as Borat, there really wasn't any other character left in his repertoire outside of Bruno.
Basically, in this cinematic outing, following a major faux pas at an Austrian fashion show, Bruno finds himself blacklisted from the scene.
In a move not too dissimilar to Borat, he heads to America to achieve fame.
And that's it for the plot (such as it is).
What Bruno is, on the surface, is a collection of real life sketches (some feeling a little false and staged in places it must be said) as Sacha Baron Cohen's alter ego pushes it as far as he can go while interacting with the "real people."
However, like Borat, Bruno succeeds by bringing the worst out in people as they either bow to political correctness or hang themselves by displaying bigoted beliefs - cue many awkward pauses from those who are caught out.
While Borat was at times, squirm inducing, Bruno is likely to shock and offend a lot of people - with plenty of graphic sex jokes, without wanting to sound like a prude, it's not going to be to everyone's taste.
Bruno succeeds in, once again, reveling in pockets of American life which are uncomfortable with some of the modern day gay lifestyle - which isn't really anything new or original.
In fact it's fair to say there is a certain frisson of disappointment that it follows same pattern as Borat - foreigner in America, seeking fame and on a road trip - and pushing people into uncomfortable situations.
But it's also fair to say at times, this is very, very funny, irreverent, scabrous and obscene.
In some of the more amusing moments, Bruno finds himself trying to negotiate peace in the middle East; stripped of his child during an appearance on an American chat show and beaten at a swingers' party.
While poking fun at the celebrity culture and penchant for adopting African children is nothing new, Baron Cohen does it very well and manages to steal a lot of humour from people's reactions to his clearly inflammatory behaviour.
The most shocking part of the film though comes from the public.
Once again it's a real eye opener to see what people will do when the spotlight's turned on them - witness how far American parents will go to get their babies a job in ad; how uneducated some of those in the charity business are and how bigoted some religious people can be.
The producers must have been rubbing their hands with glee as they watched what people would say when the cameras are turned on&
Sacha Baron Cohen clearly has pushed it as far as he can go - witness being pursued in the Middle East because of one of his outfits; meeting with a terrorist to try and achieve fame via kidnapping; his (brief) interview with Harrison Ford is hilarious - there really is nowhere else left for him to go with the celebrity interviewer.
Baron Cohen needs praise though for his quick thinking - he's clearly lived the characters for so long that he knows exactly what they'd do in certain situations - and how to achieve maximum humour and discomfort for those in the firing line.
But on the evidence of Bruno, he's clearly had a lot of fun perverting opinions and subverting attitudes - there are a lot of belly laughs to be had in truly unexpected places. It's a slightly uneven film overall with the various situations sown together on a very thin thread - and it never really achieves the irreverent highs of Borat.

It'll be very interesting to see what he chooses to do next.

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