7 months ago
Come to Kazakhstan, It’s Nice!
Sacha Baron Cohen. To some, he’s an unbeatable comedic legend of modern times. To others, he’s nothing more than a demeaning comedian, seeking nothing more than to offend peoples of various nations, ethnicities, or creeds. No matter what side of the argument you’re on, however, there’s no denying that the character and actor made tremendously positive impacts on the overall cinematic landscape of the early 21st century, and continue to do so to this day.
With the unscripted, superbly documentary-like Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan (2006) directed by Larry Charles, both Cohen and the character of Borat Sagdiyev, a well-loved fictitious Kazakh journalist — who travels throughout the United States to film a documentary which features true encounters and interactions with real Americans — received universal acclaim and recognition way beyond Kazakhstan’s borders. Though the film didn’t easily get past the minds of audiences without controversy, today it’s heralded as one of the funniest films of the decade. If not, the mockumentary is one of the best films of said decade. I couldn’t agree more with either of those claims.
As for my opinions, I have many positive ones, but I’ll try not to ramble on, as discussing this movie in great length takes away from the absolute powerhouse of entertainment this masterpiece is.
Let’s face it: Sacha Baron Cohen is a comedic chameleon in EVERY sense of the word. He’s the cinematic equivalent of what David Bowie is to rock and pop culture. Constantly shifting characters and roles, testing others perceptions of those who don’t necessarily fit in with their social norms of, whilst basically fooling (and often baffling) those he comes in contact with as his numerous characters. If there were ever such thing as the perfect character actor of recent memory, Sacha Baron Cohen would likely be it. No other actor in my knowledge can fully transform into a different person, not famous to the general public as Freddie Mercury or Abraham Lincoln for example and make it so believable. There are simply no words for it.
As Borat, Cohen is a pure, unadulterated cringe-fest. But what makes this cringe-fest so great is simply for the reason that he is brilliant, sad, often revealing, and always stupendously funny. He, in my mind, makes people’s racist beliefs, narrow-minded approaches, and unwillingness or inabilities to conform to different cultures and belief systems. Thus, with this film, Borat and the director will make the viewer want to become a better person, make them laugh until they bawl, whilst, at the same time, often leaving them in a shocked state of mind.
A perfect roller coaster ride beyond description, there is no doubt in my mind that Borat will LONG be remembered as not only one of the greatest comedies of the decade, but as one of the greatest film comedies of all time.