BORAT (2006) ONE, 9PM, MA, COMEDY
Borat – a highly-sexed, wildly anti-semitic journalist from Kazakhstan with a tenuous grasp on English – is the fictional creation of British comic Sacha Baron Cohen. After creating controversy on Cohen’s hit television series AliG, Borat has been let loose on America in this outrageous, gobsmacking film that will have you laughing out loud and hating yourself for it. In this flick, Borat is sent to the US to shoot a documentary which will help Kazakhstan residents learn from their more cultured cousins. A loose narrative links a string of shocking stunts whereby earnest Americans attempt to teach Borat about feminism, comedy, etiquette and life in the US generally. Borat, of course, manages to blunder through, insulting and humiliating everyone he meets. While the Kazakh government once threatened to take legal action against the film, they soon realised the joke was on the US – mocking their manners, intellect and lack of cultural awareness. The fact that so many Americans believed there was a nation so outrageously backward as to employ Borat as a leading journalist is, in itself, a joke. And the prank continues on from there with Borat’s jawdropping sexism and racism opening the door for others to reveal their true colours. One thing many have objected to is Borat’s anti-semitism – in one scene he walks into a gun shop and asks a salesman which gun would be best for shooting Jews. The salesman barely bats an eyelid before recommending one. Here, it is important to factor in that Baron Cohen is an observant Jew. As such, his feelings about anti-semitism no doubt run deep. Borat’s prejudice is just a tool that prompts biggots to reveal their prejudices to a wider audience. And the views that get an airing should give us all pause for thought. ★★★★
Joke’s on you: Sacha Baron Cohen plays a crazy, anti-semitic journalist in Borat.