Hatchet reporter Arich Morales shares his latest movie experience.
“Branded,” directed by Jamie Bradshaw and Aleksandr Dulerayn, is a mystery film which attracts its audience with a compelling and highly pervasive concept: the manipulative power of advertising.
The way this concept is presented, though, is so spliced, non-linear and rife with subplots that it will leave audiences bewildered and scratching their heads.
The film revolves around Misha Galkin (Ed Stoppard), an advertising mastermind in a dystopian future Russia. He later falls in love with his boss’ (Jeffrey Tambor) niece (Leelee Sobieski), even helping her produce a reality show. But after the show goes bankrupt and his girlfriend is deported back to the United States, Misha exiles himself from society.
Not one of the above subplots appears in the movie’s trailer. In fact, what we see in the official trailer is one of several other story lines that branch off after this portion of the film. The primary plot? Disfigured balloon monsters, connected to their respected corporations, “feed” off consumers. And since Misha – being the only person who can see them – cannot destroy them with his own bare hands, he decides to fight the beasts using the same methods from which they were created.
But knowing the main story line is not sufficient to understand the film. The other branches of the narrative attempt to answer so many of the film’s questions: How can Misha see these creatures? What happened to Misha, Misha’s girlfriend or Russia itself during an unexplained six-year time gap? And perhaps most importantly, why does Misha take it upon himself to resolve this ordeal?
Despite “Branded” being a jumbled mess, the movie successfully appeals to the audience’s sense of curiosity from start to finish. Just don’t be misled by the trailer, which fails to highlight the deeper – and more complicated – story paths of the movie.
Genre: Action, Drama, Mystery
Directors: Jamie Bradshaw and Aleksandr Dulerayn
Cast: Ed Stoppard, Jeffrey Tambor, Leelee Sobieski
Release Date: Sept. 7