|September 7, 2012|
|Drama, Fantasy, Thriller
Rated R for language and some sexual content
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 are materialized into strange animals and blobs, the message is so blatant that you picture the film having its own monster slapping you across the face throughout the course of it. Ed Stoppard plays Misha, an up-and-coming marketing man who gets publicly and professionally burnt when his reality show involving physical make-overs is sabotaged by a conglomerate aiming to make obesity glamorous in order 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 narration is a sinking ship from the start. That being said, “Branded” is a break on the mold and even though the messaging is clear, the ambitiousness of the directors to delve into a world like this is commendable and has not been done like this before. However, given a bit more character development and attention to detail, this could have been a much more impressive endeavor.