Watch: Bright

Shin­ing a torch on to­day’s so­cio-eco­nomic storm.


From the cre­ators of Sui­cide Squad, comes Bright. Net­flix’s first US$100 mil­lion fan­tasy ac­tion-thriller flick is set in a modern Los An­ge­les, with a twist: hu­mans co-ex­ist with myth­i­cal crea­tures. Ci­ti­zens are made up of Orcs, Elves, and Hu­mans – a con­scious de­ci­sion to re­flect the so­cial hi­er­ar­chy that is present in real-life so­ci­ety.

A ‘bright’ refers to an in­di­vid­ual with mag­i­cal abil­i­ties. How­ever, Hu­mans aren’t brights and they can­not be one. In the film, the only crea­tures who are brights are the Elves, and are thought to be the elites of this ec­cen­tric so­ci­ety. Hu­mans are seen as the mid­dle-class com­mu­nity who live in mid­dle-class res­i­dences and take on mid­dle-class jobs. At the bot­tom of the hi­er­ar­chy are the Orcs, who are dis­crim­i­nated against be­cause of their phys­i­cal ap­pear­ance.

Will Smith plays Ward, a Hu­man cop who is forced to work with an Orc named Jakoby (Joel Edgerton), who hap­pens to be the first orc to join the Los An­ge­les Police De­part­ment. The very idea of an orc in the police work­force also meant that Jakoby re­ceives flak from his fel­low orcs. While on a rou­tine night pa­trol, both of them stum­bled upon a mag­i­cal ar­ti­fact that could put the whole world at jeop­ardy. The an­cient wand was thought to be de­stroyed, and only those who have been prop­erly trained are able to bran­dish it. If a Hu­man tries to wield it, they will per­ish.

Noomi Rapace, on the other hand, plays one of the high­es­tranked Elves, who (sur­prise, sur­prise) is also the cre­ator of the wand. Long story short, the wand ul­ti­mately ended up in the pos­ses­sion of Tikka (Lucy Fry), who planned to use it for ma­li­cious pur­poses. Ward and Jakoby then bumped into Tikka and be­come en­tan­gled in the plot. The film is not afraid to ad­dress the di­vi­sive­ness of so­ci­ety and prej­u­dice. Rapace, in a Poly­gon in­ter­view, said: “Bright is a re­minder that it’s very im­por­tant that we see ev­ery­thing in all of its com­plex­ity. To not judge too soon, to not say this spe­cific group of peo­ple who look a cer­tain way or prac­tice a cer­tain re­li­gion are bad guys or witches. Life and sit­u­a­tions will shape us, but we shouldn’t judge peo­ple too soon. That’s the core of Bright. That’s what we’re try­ing to tell peo­ple.”

Bright will be avail­able to stream on Net­flix (and se­lect cin­e­mas in cer­tain ter­ri­to­ries) from De­cem­ber 22.

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