The film is intelligent and funny in its examination of who is responsible for the images that we consume. It doesn't offer easy answers, but rather tries to expose hypocrisy and lay blame equally on everyone involved, from the white network heads to the black contributors, the sometimes counterproductive militant critics, and the passive audience. The satire seems at once an over-the-top exaggeration and scarily almost plausible. The movie is shot entirely on digital video, which gives it an appropriate television aesthetic. The dialogue has a loose, improvisational feel to it, and the script follows many sprawling storylines that all come together nicely in the end.
Some of the film's most affecting footage comes from historical accuracy and artefacts from the time of the original minstrel shows. Delacroix decorates his office with an ever-increasing collection of antique offensive posters and trinkets, which gradually overwhelm his office and his life. Scenes of the "new minstrels" using the traditional ritual of putting on blackface are absolutely compelling, as is a montage of cartoon, movie, and TV images showing depictions of black people in all too recent history. The major flaw of the film is Wayans' characterisation of Delacroix, whose seduction by the show's success and subsequent downward spiral should be the spine of the film. Unfortunately, Wayans' Delacroix is all surface affectations, making his journey as the film's tragic hero less believable, which prevents the movie from being truly great. Fortunately, the rest of the ensemble cast is stellar, particularly Jada Pinkett-Smith as Sloan, Delacroix's ethically torn assistant, Michael Rapaport as the cultural-appropriating network executive, Tommy Davidson as the show's sidekick whose inability to look himself in the eye while donning blackface is actually heartbreaking, and especially Savion Glover (best known as the dancer/choreographer of "Bring in 'Da Noise, Bring in 'Da Funk") as the show's tap dancing star, whose fledgling political awareness is overshadowed by his urge to showcase his talents until it is too late. "Bamboozled" may not be a perfect film, but its entertaining and thought-provoking treatment of such bold subject matter makes it remarkably successful and utterly worthwhile.
ReviewsJul 31, 2015
Bikes vs CarsFredrik Gertten
The battle between bikes and cars is a fight most people probably don't even know they're a part of (unless you side strongly with the forme...
ReviewsJul 31, 2015
Mission: Impossible – Rogue NationChristopher McQuarrie
Somewhere along the line, the makers of the long-running, Tom Cruise-starring franchise Mission: Impossible decided to stop creating uninten...
ReviewsJul 30, 2015
Best of EnemiesMorgan Neville and Robert Gordon
Given how easy it is to turn on any of the countless news programs and find two pundits from different sides of the aisle screaming over eac...
ReviewsJul 29, 2015
Turbo KidFrançois Simard, Anouk Whissell and Yoann-Karl Whissell
Turbo Kid follows a lonely, scavenging young man (Degrassi star Munro Chambers) fighting for survival in a post-apocalyptic Canadian wastela...
ReviewsJul 29, 2015
VacationDirected by John Francis Daley and Jonathan M. Goldstein
There's something strangely comforting about the transient nature of a road trip comedy like Vacation that tosses off its comic set pieces w...
ReviewsJul 28, 2015
Mortadelo and Filemon: Mission ImplausibleJavier Fesser
Mortadelo y Filemon (known to Anglophones as Mort & Phil) are beloved Spanish comics characters. First featured in 1958, it was a comic book...
ReviewsJul 25, 2015
The Big Lebowski Live ReadOlympia Theatre, Montreal QC, July 24
Few caper comedies have captured a true fan base quite like The Big Lebowski. There have been countless festivals and theme nights since its...
ReviewsJul 23, 2015
Like so many of Adam Sandler's recent comedies, it's hard to figure out who the intended audience is for Pixels. A silly trifle that would h...