Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Sacha Baron Cohen’s Brüno: Not Yet Recognized Genius!

I finally got a chance to see Brüno on the weekend. Designed to simultaneously poke a gigantic hole (pun intended) into the deep-seated homophobia that still thrives in most parts of the world, as well as poke fun at vapid, fame-seeking vanity, Brüno knocks both balls out of the park. lol

I found myself giggling as I walked out of the theatre and I'm still giggling.

I’ve read some reviews that criticize Brüno for missing a major story hook; Brüno only wishes to become famous. Is that motivation less compelling than wanting to bag Pamela Anderson (again pun intended) in Borat? Perhaps it’s less specific, but it still provides Cohen with a wide palate of material with which to make his point(s).

I didn’t laugh out loud as much as I did for Borat, but I think Brüno is far more significant a film politically and socially. We live in an era where virulent homophobia still very much dominates much of North America and most of the world. What Brüno does is pit possibly the worst gay stereotype imaginable against raving, far-right bigots and waits for the fireworks to go off. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don't. The scenes where Brüno camps with some Alabama hunters were interesting in that the hunters were so restrained amid Cohen's come-ons.

Cohen brilliantly ties these episodes together as a full frontal attack on closed mindedness. The hypocrisy he exposes is biting. He uses shock to expose and challenge virulent homophobia head-on. Indeed, as media reports have indicated, Cohen’s own safety was frequently put at risk while filming this movie, not to mention afterwards. His sheer bravado is to be applauded.

Brüno makes Cohen an artist before his time...

One day they'll look back and view Brüno as a great historical record of the homophobia that still gripped much of America at the beginning of the 21st century...


Brian said...

I knew you'd like it. It is hard to write about the film without seeing it. I thought it was great, he takes extreme stereotypes of what straight folks think that gay men are, and shoves it in their faces.

I think of it as kind of a guerilla candid camera mockumentary. If anything the pure audacity he displays in the lengths he goes is incredible.

As with you there weren't the same laugh out loud moments as Borat, but man, that one scene with the red neck hunters when they all go real quiet for so long was something else.

Not to mention how he ends up finally becoming famous. I also liked the moments where you'd have to be gay to be in on the joke. i.e. the reference about all the famous people had in common were being straight.

Anyway, I was looking forward to you review of this on.

I lived in Regina for a year, and have fond memories of your province, even though I would have much preferred to live in Saskatoon.

Brian said...

I'm not awake yet, I thought you were the queer liberal from Saskatchewan. I see you are in Toronto.