Movie Review: Borat Subsequent Moviefilm
Borat Subsequent Moviefilm is a giant middle finger to the right and an exploration of the spiral into insanity the United States has fallen into since the previous movie. Continuing the same gonzo style filming, the movie puts Borat on a mission to deliver a gift to Donald Trump so that the leader of Kazakhstan can become his friend. That gift? Borat’s daughter. Yes, Borat has a partner in crime, his daughter Sandra Jessica Parker Sagdiyev.
Borat is the creation of comedian Sacha Baron Cohen, who has perfected the use of characters to skewer his topics. This film is no exception. With the first film being such a success, the character has been ruined in a way. Cohen comes up with the brilliant alternative of having Borat play other characters as he makes his way around on his mission. Of course, things don’t go right and each character allows him to explore and create commentary about each of his targets. They range from QAnon conspiracists to the Christian Right, to Mike Pence and Rudy Guiliani. The film has a target and it’s the regressive, racist, and backward aspects of America.
The inclusion of the daughter adds new few layers to Cohen and Borat’s usual schtick. Played by “Irina Novak,” (really Maria Bakalova) Tutar, aka Sarah Jessica Parker, gives as good as she gets in the film. She also forces Borat to be more than a one-note character while also exploring and skewering aspects of society that he wouldn’t be able to touch. Abortion, misogyny, masturbation, and more are explored through the character. She also creates a new layer of jokes that are amazing.
Borat Subsequent Moviefilm is an amazing exploration of America. Of course, what Borat and Sarah Jessica Parker say is shocking but it’s the lack of response and shock from those around them that’s the point. They expose the underbelly of rot that exists throughout the nation. Racism, antisemitism, misogyny, are in their crosshairs. Through their, and especially Sarah Jessica Parker’s journey, they expose the lies not of Kazakhstan but of America. They spotlight the ugly underneath and the acceptance of it by so many in so many different positions.
Through the offensiveness, there’s a lot of heart. We see the character grow as he interacts with his daughter and the film spotlights reason and sanity. A segment in a Jewish Temple and another with an African American women deliver the voices of reason. Though there’s many jokes made out of each segment, they give a break from the hate and ignorance spewed by so many others. Their focus in this film is clearly the white right, especially the privileged.
What’s more interesting in the film is that many more of the moments feel like pre-planned segments. There’s either complete random luck in the subjects, a lot of throwing darts to see what works, or it’s pre-planned sketches. No matter the method, the results are amazing and create a narrative that’s perfectly timed for the election. There’s also something that makes you appreciate what is pulled off, even more, when you attempt to figure out the logistics of it all. There are also such amazing lapses in security… it’s just baffling.
Borat Subsequent Moviefilm is the movie we need for the November election. Not only does it skewer the right, but it also shows the left’s heart. It weaves together topics like COVID and politics with a clear goal and points to make. It does so with humor and a no-fear attitude. It’s gonzo journalism wrapped up as sketch comedy. It’s not the same schtick as the original, it pulls off its brilliance and takes it to another level by adding in more of a plot and story.
There’s no way that Borat can go on as a character after these two films. He’s too well known. The film almost feels like it wanted to take everything so many found offensive about the character and show that he’s what America has let fully loose. The conspiracies, the misogyny, the antisemitism. And then take Borat and show he can grow. That you don’t need to be that way. There’s such a subversive flip in the film compared to the first. The original film had Borat highlighting horrid beliefs and actions while this film has that but growth and uncomfortableness on full display in its two main characters. The United States and its citizens are who we should be offended by is the point of the film.
It’s the rare sequel that might surpass the original. Borat Subsequent Moviefilm takes its weaknesses, a known schtick, and makes it its strength. It also shows that Cohen can make his characters more than simple jokes and he, and they, have so much room for growth and hopefully so much more to say.
Overall Rating: 9.0