Saturday, August 22, 2009

A few thoughts on Bruno

I can’t remember the last time I woke up in the middle of the night laughing, several times, because of a movie -- I mean, maybe this related to the unfortunate fact that I was waking up, but anyway I have to say that Bruno is absolutely knock-you-down hilarious. Sure, I watched the first 20 minutes thinking I can’t believe this is happening -- Sacha Baron Cohen’s title character is the most atrocious queen you can imagine, fully inhabiting every racist, classist, fashion-obsessed, vapid, misogynist, sex-crazed gay stereotype. It’s jaw-dropping, uncomfortable, lavish, and scathing. But the true brilliance is when the movie moves from a critique of the fashion industry and the rabid consumerism of the gay imagination, to an evisceration of Hollywood dreams and straight homophobia.

There are so many completely unbelievable scenes in this movie that I can’t even start to describe them, for fear of taking too long, but one thing is certain -- without the fame and resources due to the success of Cohen’s previous film, Borat, there’s no way that he could have flown all over the world, created fake TV shows and infiltrated real ones, and enacted the craziest stunts imaginable, without a virtually limitless budget ($40 million, it seems, for a movie in which very few actors are paid). So, therefore, a limitless budget to critique the habits of those with a limitless budget. Limited, of course.

And, while Bruno savages and satirizes all the habits of the liberal elite, its critique of the relentless hypocrisy of homophobia centers much more on the behavior of working class men (particularly those in the South -- hello, have you been to northern California?). And while these scenes are both vicious and splendid, the movie certainly would be a stronger critique of homophobia if it also exposed the homophobia of the (class) privileged. But, within the suffocating confines of Hollywood excess, Bruno is probably the closest we’ll get.


Anonymous said...

The fight scene was apparently filmed right here in Arkansas. Which is a ~*big deal*~ or something. Who knows.

mattilda bernstein sycamore said...

What kind of big deal?


Anonymous said...

I actually don't know. I have been avoiding the whole Bruno thing, so I am not even really sure what the movie is about. It has a gay dude, or something. Anyway, they gave away a lot of really cheap beer and then filmed that fight. It's all anyone could talk about for a long time.

mattilda bernstein sycamore said...

Always a good idea to avoid Hollywood!

But I'm guessing they were angry after the big fight scene...

Love --