A man (Ed Stoppard (above) ) uncovers a global corporate conspiracy to keep the public oblivious to the clandestine powers that control humanity's every move. Leelee Sobieski, Jeffrey Tambor, and Max von Sydow co-star. ~ Jason Buchanan.
The Premise for Branded is one of mystery, intrigue and downright CONSPIRACY. The whole human construct of marketing and Consumerist fantasy building is put under the microscope in this gripping yet very strange movie.
Using a Pagan ritual, Ed Stoppard begins to see life around him clearer than any person could. A brilliant Awakening themed movie that Impressed me from start to finish.
You may have seen the trailers and posters for Branded — the new movie in which weird creatures grow out of people's backs and the tops of buildings. It looked like a weird surrealistic version of They Live, mixed with some monster-movie imagery. But that ad campaign was somewhat misleading — and that's rather amusing, given that this is a movie about misleading marketing.
Unfortunately, instead of a fun monster movie, Branded is a truly dreary lecture on late-stage capitalism, in which logic basically goes out the window. The ending, in particular, will leave you scratching (or maybe clutching) your head. Spoilers ahead...
And this is your last warning. There's no way to talk about how insane this movie is without major spoilers. So if you are planning on going to see it, and want to avoid spoilers, stop now.
Branded is clearly a sincere attempt to comment on the ubiquity of marketing, made by a couple of marketing guys. They want to make a grand statement about the way our desires have been hijacked by corporate brands. By having people say things like, "The castrated lamb is still happy, because he doesn't know what he's lost." (One of many such lines in the film.)
Unfortunately, the makers of Branded have forgotten one of the main rules of marketing: Tell a clear, compelling story. Instead, they've created a bit of a bloated mess, where the details seem to be getting away from them and some major plot twists seem to come almost literally out of nowhere. You can sense that they knew the movie was kind of a mess, because some important plot points are communicated by a cheerful voiceover, that I'm willing to bet was added at the last minute. (The voiceover, at the end, turns out to be the voice of a talking animated cow constellation, winking in the night sky.)
But really, here's all you need to know about Branded: the ostensible villain is a marketing guru played by Max Von Sydow. He's only actually in a few scenes, where we see him hatching evil schemes from his own private Polynesian island in the middle of nowhere. We keep waiting for him to meet the movie's hero Mischa (Ed Stoppard) but it doesn't ever happen — and then, just when the movie is starting to reach a narrative climax, Max Von Sydow randomly gets struck by lightning and evaporates. For no particular reason.
No, seriously. The bad guy gets struck by lightning and evaporates. He's in the middle of giving a speech about how the bad guys can still win, and then BOOM. He's zapped, and all that's left of him is his little silk robe, falling on the floor empty. He does an Obi-Wan.
Sorry to give away that chunk of the ending, but really.
The actual ending, which happens 20 or 30 minutes later, is even more nonsensical than that. But we won't give away what happens.
“.....A man (Ed Stoppard) uncovers a global corporate conspiracy to keep the public oblivious to the clandestine powers that control humanity's every move. Starring Leelee Sobieski, Jeffrey Tambor, and Max von Sydow co-star. ~ Jason Buchanan, ”. 9 STARS out of TEN ********* -