BY CHRISTOPHER HASKELL
SEPTEMBER 15, 2013
As much as “Branded” is ambitious and inventive, it’s also careless and void of appropriate character development and character reactions. In the surreal world where corporations and brands materialize into strange animals and blobs, the message is so blatant that you picture the film having its monster slapping you across the face throughout its course. Ed Stoppard plays Misha, an up-and-coming marketing man who gets publicly and professionally burnt when his reality show involving physical make-overs gets sabotaged by a conglomerate aiming to make obesity glamorous to sell more hamburgers. After losing his girlfriend, played wonderfully by the underutilized Leelee Sobieski, he disappears from the corporate world to herd sheep. It is there that he has a dream, kills a red cow, and discovers the ability to see these strange corporate beasts floating above office buildings.
The reasoning behind the film is often glazed over, the human reactions are baseline and never delved into, and the character played by Max Von Sydow is so random, he sticks out like a sore thumb. What eventually kills this film is the strange narration throughout. Often out of place-out of nowhere, a film that relies on this heavy of description is a sinking ship from the start. That said, “Branded” is a break on the mold. Even though the messaging is clear, the directors’ ambitiousness to delve into this world is commendable. However, given a bit more character development and attention to detail, this could have been a much more impressive endeavor.
September 7, 2012
(for language and some sexual content)
Brain & Melissa
Max von Sydow