When 2020 sank into a shit-show, I asked myself, “how can this year be any more insane?” The second the words left my lips, Sacha Baron Cohen said, “hold my beer” and released Borat Subsequent Moviefilm.
Cohen is notorious for his eccentric characters like Ali G and Admiral General Aladeen. This film brings the glorious return of Borat Sagdiyev, a bumbling reporter from Kazakhstan who previously traveled to the United States to document American life. The film is the sequel to Borat: Cultural Learnings of America For Make Great Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan.
Weeks before the U.S. presidential election, Cohen dropped this mockumentary of the country’s political climate. Considering the political and social circus of the U.S., Borat was released at the perfect time.
The film starts with Borat set free from a gulag after bringing great shame to Kazakhstan. In the last movie, he pulled pranks, attempted to make Pamela Anderson his wife and took a dump in front of the Trump Tower in New York. Then, this disgraced reporter learns of the mess going on in the U.S. Five minutes in, Borat mocks Justin Trudeau’s blackface scandal. The scene sets the tone for the rest of the movie.
To restore the honour of his country, Borat offered his daughter, Tutar, as a sex bride for vice-president Mike Pence. From there, Borat and Tutar travel through the U.S. for endless shenanigans both real and staged.
Though the movie is a mockumentary, many of the pranks and sequences of the film are real. All of the reactions from passers-by are genuine, adding an extra layer of hilarity to the scenes. My favorite scene was his song at the anti-mask rally. Trust me, you’ll thank me later.
Based on the ads, I thought Borat was only going to be a prank-movie with silly slapstick humour. Don’t get me wrong, the film has all of those things, but it also has a surprising amount of heartfelt moments. The interactions and character development between Borat and Tutar were shockingly sweet.
Borat’s bread and butter is satire. Cohen uses Borat’s bumbling, misogynistic and anti-semitic persona to comment on problems in society and the U.S.
In one scene, Borat buys a custom-made cake, requesting the baker to write in icing “Jews will not replace us,” referencing the alt-right chant from the Charlottesville protests in 2017. The twist? The baker takes this request in stride and writes this phrase without hesitation.
The film featured Republican speeches and an interview with Donald Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani. This spawned the infamous scene after the interview catching Giuliani with his hand in his pants with the actress playing Tutar in the room.
Giuliani displayed his disgust for the film on Twitter.
“The Borat video is a complete fabrication. I was tucking in my shirt after taking off the recording equipment. At no time before, during, or after the interview was I ever inappropriate. If Sacha Baron Cohen implies otherwise he is a stone-cold liar.”
Borat was released at the perfect time because of the political climate. The film displays satire through both staged and real-life moments capturing the insanity of the world and America.
Do you know how to tell when satire is well-made? When top political figures like Giuliani get pissy over a dumb mockumentary.