BRIGHT (2017) Review – The Biggest Tease

BRIGHT (2017) Review – The Biggest Tease

Most likely a movie that slipped under some people’s radars, Bright is a modern take on fantasy drama. The characters and world that is established are fantastic, but it falls victim to bad writing and poor camerawork.

Bright is a modern police drama that takes place in a fantasy world. Humans, Orcs, and Elves are coexisting in a world and none of them like the other 2. Bright follows two police officers, a human named Daryl Ward (played by will smith) and the worlds first orc officer: Nick Jakoby (played by Joel Edgerton). It becomes obvious very quickly that the setting is an allegory for racism, to the point that Will Smith’s character makes a reference to the black lives matter movement. This is fairly heavy-handed and lacks the talent to pull off the metaphor smoothly, but the story moves away from this pretty quickly.

The world that is established here is pretty fascinating, and one of the best examples of modern fantasy I have seen. This becomes most prominent in the scenes showing how the different communities have developed. The languages used also perpetuate this separation and Jakoby’s reference to taking 2 years of elvish in high school is one of the best examples of this. The setting appears dystopian with large gun turrets and security checkpoints throughout. This makes Daryl’s struggle more understandable as he wishes for his daughter to reach a better world.

This is all shown through the camerawork, and subtle references throughout, this make sense largely because the telling doesn’t improve the movie. The dialogue in this movie feels very stilted and unnatural, with the majority of the conversations being so laced with profanity that it is barely understandable. I am a huge fan of swearing in movies as long as it serves a purpose. I expect it to build or release tension, to improve a joke or at least be placed well in the dialogue. If a character swears 5 times in one sentence (a common occurrence in this movie), I become apathetic towards it. Inversely when swearing is used in a tense moment, I can’t care, because they just swore about 15 times in the last 45 seconds. The rest of the dialogue is pretty vague, with a lot of references to an ambiguous evil character. The dialogue is probably one of the lowest points for me and was a large detractor from the movie itself.

This isn’t to say the movie had no tense moments, as that mantle was picked up by the action. In a fantasy movie, you expect to see a lot of spells, magic, and potions, but Bright does a great job of rationing its wizardry. Magic is only used about 3 times in the entire movie, and every time it is used it is shown to be powerful and very unstable. This makes the struggle of keeping the main villain’s wand away from them even more believable, as it could very well mean leveling this entire city. The rest of the action is done with guns, lots and lots of guns. Everybody in this movie seems to have access to military grade weapons, and the police are equipped for it. They make a point to show that all of the police officers are wearing bulletproof vests and using shotguns as their primary weapon. The gunfights in this movie can be intense or very suspenseful, and this duality gives the action more variety. Even though the movie is packed wall to wall in action scenes, I never found myself bored of them.

It is easy to infer that this movie is made to be watched in the home; it is a Netflix original and never got a theatrical release. So can SOMEONE EXPLAIN WHY THE MOVIE IS SO ****ING DARK? The movie is called bright but looks like it was shot through a squid’s ink sac. This is a huge problem that makes itself known in the 2nd act and is prevalent throughout the rest of the movie. The majority of the movie takes place in a night, and that is fine, except every single shot is as dark as possible. This becomes very distracting, and I had a hard time seeing who was who in some of the more fast-paced shootouts. While not an immersion braking issue, it definitely detracts from the overall experience.

Overall, this movie showed promise, and the premise alone was enough to draw me in. David Ayer has redeemed himself from the colossal mess that was Suicide Squad, but he still has a way to go. The movie needed major touch-ups in the writing room and the post-production but is most certainly worth a watch.

6.5

“This movie exceeded my expectations but not by much”

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