HomeMoviesBorat Subsequent Moviefilm Review: Deftly Walking the Line of Satire & Silliness

Borat Subsequent Moviefilm Review: Deftly Walking the Line of Satire & Silliness

Photo Credit: Amazon Studios

Written by Samuel Niles

“Reality” is not a requirement of great art, but, quite often, knowing a great work of art was done “for real” does add something very special to it. 

Bad action set pieces and poorly composed long shots aren’t suddenly escalated by knowing they were done “for real.” Yet, when you learn a spectacular set piece and a beautifully composed long shot were done “for real,” it, at the very least, adds a little something. 

But in the case of Sacha Baron Cohen’s mockumentaries, knowing they were done “for real” doesn’t simply “add a little something.” Rather, this knowledge utterly defines them. And the crass bravery of two naked men wrestling in front of a convention room full of people or offering a bag of poop to your hostess as seen in the first Borat film is nothing compared to what is witnessed in Borat Subsequent Moviefilm

In order to avoid ruining the “shock value” that is so essential to a first viewing of any Cohen film, none of the shocking stunts of Borat Subsequent Moviefilm will be revealed in this review, but the film doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to its intended targets, and they are crystal clear for all to see. One might have been able to claim the first Borat was politically neutral, Subsequent Moviefilm centers the majority of its focus on Trump and Republicans as he tries to sell his underage daughter into marriage. 

That’s not even subtext anymore. 

Shot during the COVID pandemic, the film sees no topic as too precious, and no situation too dangerous. The situations the cast and crew put themselves in are quite literally jaw-dropping, leaving you wondering not just how they got into them but how anyone could be brave enough to do this. As much as you’ll enjoy watching these stunts, you’d rather free climb the Grand Canyon than ever have to do them yourself. 

And yet, as cliche as this feels to type, the film has tremendous heart. The central relationship between Borat and his daughter Tutar (Maria Bakalova, a newcomer who more than holds her own alongside a veteran like Cohen) is brilliant, making for some heartwarming moments amongst the numerous laughs. But what’s particularly of interest is how these heartwarming moments are not at the expense of the crassness, but, in a way, because of them. 

The film certainly has a little feminist bent as Borat comes to respect Tutar’s humanity. Yet these characters are, at their core, crass beings. It’s why we paid for a ticket for the first film and why we kept our Amazon Prime subscriptions for the sequel, and the film manages to embrace this message while never once losing its brilliant dark humor. 

One such moment involves Tutar questioning her heritage directly to her father. Their hometown, being as anti-Semitic as it is, celebrates the Holocaust. So in this scene when she’s questioning the objectification of women like herself, she uses the Holocaust to hit her father close to home. Not to criticize it, but to instead engage in Holocaust denial.

(This is probably the 50th moment your jaw will drop in the film). 

It’s more than safe to say that Cohen doesn’t believe women are lesser. He’s presumably not a racist, and, as a man of Jewish descent, he doesn’t deny the Holocaust. But he manages to capture the foolishness of Holocaust deniers, never letting you forget these characters are stupid, while telling a bizarrely heartwarming story of a father coming to embrace his daughter. 

It is the finest of lines for a storyteller and actor to walk. And it’s one that everyone involved walk with grace.

Borat Subsequent Moviefilm is now streaming on Amazon Prime.

Pop-Break Staff
Pop-Break Staffhttps://thepopbreak.com
Founded in September 2009, The Pop Break is a digital pop culture magazine that covers film, music, television, video games, books and comics books and professional wrestling.

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