‘Borat Subsequent Moviefilm’ showcases reality through absurdity


Courtesy / Amazon Studios

Simon Wagner, Columnist

Though at times you may question the motive behind the obscenity of Borat, what is never in question is the sheer brilliance behind the character.

Sacha Baron Cohen puts back on the gray suit and beige tie in his latest portrayal of his most iconic character. Set 14 years after the release of the first Borat film, we see our main character has been banished and shamed for making his home country, Kazakhstan, a laughing stock. After doing manual labor for these subsequent years, the government of Kazakhstan has called on their infamous journalist to go back to America, and deliver Vice President Mike Pence their most prized monkey.

I really hope if you are reading this that you have seen the first Borat film because if you haven’t, you probably think I dreamed this plot up.

But the film isn’t about the plot. It’s about the many characters you stumble upon that give you a glimpse into the reality of our country. What is so perfect about this movie is that our main actors, who are in on the joke, don’t necessarily know what is going to happen next. It makes you feel like you are on the same roller coaster, and each 90-degree drop is just as surprising to the actors as it is the audience.

What makes Cohen so brilliant at what he does, is his ability to bait people into a comedic trap. Some may call what he does exploitation, but I’d say he is exposing a side of our nation that needs to be shown. Nothing is more true than his interactions with the far-right. Not only does Borat get these people to say what he wants them to say, but he makes them feel proud of what they’re saying. Deep down, this shocking comedy is more about the extreme lack of empathy and judgment that plagues the many parts of our nation.

Now even though the majority of this film is about exposing these flawed characters, what stands out the most from this movie is the few minutes we get with Jeanise Jones. A self-employed babysitter out of Oklahoma City, Jones is tasked to take care of Borat’s teenage daughter while he is away for a few hours. Though we only get a few minutes with her, what Jones shows us in this time is how caring, thoughtful, and protective she is.

Every time Borat and his daughter throw a curveball at Jones, her response is always empathetic. She genuinely cares about people. Also, she has become so popular since the release of the film that people have donated over 100,000 dollars to her through a GoFundMe. She has taken this money and dispersed it throughout her church for people who need it more than her.

This time we get with Jones perfectly encompasses the modern United States. For the majority of the film, we are bombarded with unlikable and shocking characters, but this little time we get with Jones gives the audience a sense of comfort and hope.

The film is like a mirror. It is a reflection of who we are as a nation today. It shows the audience pieces of this country that some people never knew existed.

Cohen takes things he hears from the news and turns it up a few notches. Even if the end result seems extreme, it is still reality — it’s a parallel to where we are today. When we turn on the news, the only things we are shown are extremities. The media shows us all of the horror and negativity that swarms our country, but if you seek it out, there is some tenderness and beauty. In the end, all people want in this world is to feel the same way the audience gets to feel about Ms. Jones.

It’s Cohen’s ability to draw these parallels through absurdism is what truly makes him a genius.

“Borat Subsequent Moviefilm” is available now on Amazon Prime Video.