Sunday, November 05, 2006

Review of Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan: Satire on the Edge of Tastelessness

by Larry Charles

With a loose documentary frame we follow Sacha Baron Cohen’s fictional character Borat as he travels across the United States. While on the surface it’s broad and often low humour, there is a brilliant core of social satire delivered by a naive sexist, racist, homophobic and anti-semitic main character. It seems to be the standard shocking real people with a fictional character, but the targets and approaches are anything by accidental with some of the most revealing glimpses into the socio-economic structure of contemporary culture. But it’s still very funny in a very inappropriate way. I laughed a lot, but at times I was horrified at the revelations that Borat’s victims made about prejudice. Sacha Baron Cohen is a gifted satirist who has a rock-solid grasp on his characters that never wavers. Within the film he manages to make his points as he travels and meets real people as well tying together the fictional narrative arc where he wants to travel to California to marry Pamela Anderson. It’s amazing to see how well it ties everything together to make a coherent story. With direction by Larry Charles of Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm the structure contains and amplifies the antics of a character from short sketches into something that becomes much more.

No comments: