How many trippy movies have you witnessed throughout your life? Probably a select few unless you single them out. They are a rare type of art form that many believe can only be entertaining if the viewer is high. For some movies, that may be a fact, but for others, they can be made in a way that can be enjoyed by all if done right. One of these films is called "Branded", a film that has received poor recognition from a handful of reviews on RottenTomatoes.com. It isn't hard to understand where they are coming from, but try to keep an open mind with this one.
It stars Ed Stoppard as our lead protagonist, Misha Galkin. Misha is very smart and talented marketing spy. He works for Bob Gibbons (Jeffrey Tambor), a man who sends him out on his marketing missions. Bob's niece Abby (Leelee Sobieski) almost immediately grows an attraction towards Misha and the two hit it off against Bob's wishes. Misha soon learns that his gift of marketing comes as more of a curse when he learned he can destroy businesses and even lives, so he secludes himself far away from the city. It is there that he has a strange dream about a constellation of a cow tells him to perform an ancient ritual. It is this ritual that gives Misha the ability to see the affect of marketing on people's minds. He physically sees blobs of creatures that attach themselves onto people, and influence them to make decisions that benefit different companies.
It is very hard to accurately define what the movie looks like through words, because it is a very visually stimulating movie. It really is gorgeous in a lot of ways, even though the special effects weren't all they could be. It was mostly the underlining idea about how we as people are affected by advertisements. The film captures this very real problem in such a way that embellishes reality and engages the audience. It really is thought provoking, but it is extremely trippy. The look of the film may intrigue its viewer while at the same time put them off because it really is strange.
The pacing could use a lot of help. You do understand the issue at stake, and what he is trying to do for the most part, but it is how he gets to that point that is slightly troublesome. To be honest, it is all over the place when concerning the pace. The acting wasn't bad, but it wasn't Oscar-worthy material either. It made sense, the characters had fine chemistry, but it wasn't anything that you will remember for a long time. What really made the movie what it was...was the idea.
Yes, advertisements are in fact getting out of hand, and I believe the filmmakers had a very firm grasp of that concept. Not only did they grasp the idea, but they conveyed it to their audience pretty effectively as well. Whether or not you enjoy the movie is a coin-toss, as it seems to have a love or hate relationship with viewers with a lean towards hate. Love it or hate it, you will understand and appreciate the unique message given.
It is different, folks, but don't let that dissuade you. It is also really weird and frankly confusing in parts, so no...it is not for everyone. If you like different, though, this is the right pick for you and I don't think you will be disappointed. Just don't expect a blockbuster.
"Branded" comes to Blu-Ray and DVD on Jan. 15!