Cop thriller meets Lord of the rings. Sounds cool right? After making the critically panned Suicide Squad, David Ayer announced instead he was going to direct a Netflix film called Bright, written by Max Landis, who’s known for Chronicle and American Ultra. It’s an interesting and creative concept for sure, but unfortunately there’s a difference here between potential and reality.
Bright takes place in an alternative version of our current world where humans, orcs, fairies, and elves all live together, but they don’t quite like each other. Elves are in the upper class, orcs are in the lower class, and humans are in between those two. Daryl Ward (Will Smith) and Nick Jakoby (Joel Edgerton) are police partners, and they don’t get along with each other. One’s a human frustrated with being shot by an orc during a case, and the other one is the first ever orc to become a cop. These two have to solve a mystery involving a magic wand. Yeah, you read that right.
The two lead actors are fine in their roles without breaking any ground. While Will Smith is undeniably charismatic as Daryl, Joel Edgerton’s performance brings more likability to his character and you’re able to sympathize with him. The film does an interesting job in tackling the theme of racism, especially with Nick. He’s just a nice guy wanting to prove himself as a cop, but feels like a complete outsider. He’s not accepted by his own kind, and humans ostracize him for being a police officer. Both Smith and Edgerton are good as their characters, but unfortunately they don’t have any chemistry when they’re on screen together. It’s a shame because David Ayer also directed another cop movie called End of Watch which showcased an amazing collaboration between Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Peña. There’s nothing wrong with seeing characters bicker with one another, but these two actors couldn’t pull off a believable partnership. The more they argue, the less development they give to their relationship.
Since this is a movie directed by David Ayer, if you hated Suicide Squad, you’re not going to like this movie at all, as they both have similar flaws. The glaring issue that most moviegoers had with Suicide Squad was the fact that it had a lot of tonal discrepancies. When a scene had humour in it, it was hard to react as it didn’t have a specific tone. The soundtrack in Bright is undeniably fun, but also quite jarring at times. Every time a song plays, it gets on your nerves and doesn’t really mesh well with the film’s gritty tone. Also disappointingly, this may be Max Landis’ worst script. Some of the dialogue is just cringe-worthy and doesn’t feel natural when the actors say it. Ayer has made great films in the past like End of Watch and Fury. What happened to him?
Bottom line, Bright is an imaginative mess. While the world they introduce to the audience is undeniably creative, the flaws such as the jarring soundtrack, the shift in tones and the script heavily compromise the film as a whole. Luckily it’s a Netflix film, because it doesn’t really deserve a theatrical release in movie theatres.
Bright is now available on Netflix.