The Film: Branded (2012)
The Principles: Written and Directed by Jaime Bradshaw and Aleksandr Dulerayn. Acted by Ed Stoppard, Leelee Sobieski, Jeffrey Tambor and Max von Sydow,
The Premise: This should be fun. It’s about a marketing executive (Stoppard) in Russia who works for an American company that’s mostly a front for CIA spy operations. But then the movie forgets about that and becomes a romance between the executive and his boss’ niece (Sobieski). After the script loses interest in that, it’s about the executive feeling guilty about being in advertising, so he becomes a fucking cow shepard. He does that for awhile and then has a vision when a cow made of stars tells him to sacrifice a red cow made of cow and bathe in its blood, burn its corpse and mix the ashes into water and pour it on his head. After he does that, he can see things others can’t: like the fact that all the corporate brands in Moscow have become sentient monsters that look like a Pokemon fucked Miyazaki’s next movie. The brands all fight in the sky and then there’s some riots and a reality show coma and someone gets struck by lighting and turns to smoke, Obi-Wan style and there’s a dragon and some sex in a car and everyone becomes fat and there’s more movie and then I died.
Is It Good: This is the antithesis of all things good. This movie is bad, really bad and not in a Miami Connection or Dreamcatcher way. This is bad in, like, a Hitman or Mission to Mars kind of way. At the end, when the riot starts (apropos of nothing), the angry mob storms the marketing office and the heroes hide in a room with four fucking glass walls. Then they push a couch over to the door to try and block the mob from coming in. A mob carrying blunt instruments and guns. They make short work of the GLASS WALLS and then beat the living shit from the hero. Instead of giggling at the sheer inane stupidity on display, I wanted it to end in the same way I want a long line at Wal-Mart to end: quickly and without someone crying on the way to the car.
Ed Stoppard is a charisma vacuum, Leelee Sobieski is more beautiful than she’s ever been, but is straddled with nothing to do, Max von Sydow is playing Emperor Palpatine and that rules and Jeffrey Tambor is a ray of sunshine up my tired and cranky ducts. Jaime Bradshaw and Aleksandr Dulerayn will never have the opportunity to make another movie again, I guarantee you. How about some fucking bullet points!!
- The script is tone deaf and offensive in all the wrong ways.
- The editing is so schizophrenic and without pace, I thought that I was stroking out for awhile. Scenes begin and end in the most counter-intuitive ways possible like in the middle of Jeffrey Tambor being wonderful instead of before Ed Stoppard starts brood-wanking.
- I love me some genre-bending shit, but this film doesn’t have enough of a handle on the conventions of Parody, Satire, Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Romance, Drama, Political, Kaiju or Red Cow Sacrifice to even begin to make one of these genre’s coherent, let alone all of them.
- This movie fat shames people. Not in a Wall-E way, but in an Asshole at the Mall kind of way.
- This movie acts like marketing, not the corporations behind them or even the products they’re selling is, literally, the root of all evil. That’s reductive and insulting to your intelligence, which is much more better than mine be.
- Max von Sydow gets struck by lightning and disappears in a puff of smoke, leaving his steaming robes on the ground as a bunch of corporate tools look on… AND IT’S COMPLETELY LAME!! That should have literally been the dopest thing I’ve ever seen in my life and all it did was make my yawn and lightly scratch my genitals.
- It has six acts and all of them blow.
Be the change you believe in and never, ever watch this movie.
Is It Worth A Look: I think this is actually a trick movie. Instead of being a piece of work made by humans, it’s actually a deceptive, Eicke-ian ruse, perpetrated on Planet Earth for the express purposes of allowing giant dragon pokemon to break their way into our dimension and make fun of our way of life, while telling our collective Grandmas what we think of when we make God cry. So, no, I guess. It’s not worth a look.
Random Anecdotes: One baby is stillborn for every time this movie is played.
Cinematic Soulmates: Birth of a Nation. Uncut Vietnam War Footage. Glenn Beck’s Dreams.