Review: Bright

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Source: CNET

David Ayer’s visual wizardry is showcased here, as the director presents a grimy, smeared world of distorted fantasy colour that radiates with the hue of Los Angeles and the vibrance and hustle of a dirty underground magic city. Unfortunately, however, the awful screenplay which lacks control of tone, diverting between an attempt at high-fantasy, urban societal discussions and a buddy-cop comedy with no restraint, doesn’t create a story worthy of such a backdrop. Capturing racial conflict within such a setting should have brought a new, exciting life to repetitive themes, but writer Max Landis throws every cop-cliche at the page. The dynamics between cops are typical, as are family relationships, characteristics of each race, and how they treat each other. This is evidently purposeful, to make such divisions prominent, but Landis is too forceful with political sentiment, and one can see issues arise without anything meaningful being said. This predictability is also inescapable with Will Smith’s Ward, an extremely unlikable protagonist who is purely a vehicle for thematic reasoning. This would be fine if his arc went to unexpected places or surprised the audience with developments that said something new about racial tension and the police force’s role in it, but sadly all of it can be predicted from the start. The film’s most outrageous flaw however, is relegating a magnificent, and at times truly heart-breaking, Joel Edgerton to the secondary lead. Edgerton’s Jakoby is again very clean-cut, but this background, racial lore and perspective on the urban decay and societal flares is the most impressive, bringing an emotional spirit that is gripping. Ultimately, ‘Bright’ is far too predictable and manufactured to be anything special, but luckily David Ayer and Joel Edgerton bring their top work to make it at least watchable. 2.5/5

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