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Bamboozled

(10/10)

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Current Rating 5/10 | 14 Votes

Here is one of the most underrated films of the year. It barely got any theatrical run and a local video store that I work at only carries one copy . Jesus, the store carries at least six copies of some direct to video bullshit that nobody sees, but only one copy of this masterpiece . Anyways, I'm ranting . Here is the review.Damon Wayans stars in this film as Pierre Delacroix, a television writer who gets frustrated when his network only wants him to write only some "fresh, urban" show . He lashes back by creating Mantan the New Millenium Minstrel Show, a throwback to the earlier part of the century where black entertainers had to perform in blackface and play in roles that showed African Americans as ignorant and inferior . By this show, Pierre hopes to prove a point in that the media doesn't want to potray African Americans in any dignified way . However, this comes back to get him when the show actually becomes a runaway success . From this sets off a series of events that lead to a shattering conclusion that would be a sin for me to reveal here .Now, first and foremost, this film is a satire . Director and writer Spike Lee makes that abundantly clear when in the opening of the film, Damon Wayans gives a dictionary definition on the meaning of the word "satire" . This whole film is just outrageous and over the top . However, the intent and meaning of satire is carried out in this film perfectly . The points that this film makes are very easy to see . Subtlety isn't always synonymous with a Spike Lee joint .Bamboozled was shot in 100% digital cameras, and the audience can really notice that with the way the image plays . The texture and graininess of the picture opens up to a lot of experimentation, and it's really interesting to see Spike Lee's trademark camera work (i.e. actors on moving dollies to give a floating effect). Also, this usage of digital cameras gives an effect of making the viewer feel like they watching a television show . The Mantan Millenium Minstrel Show is the core of the plot . Watching black actors perform in the garish make-up in this archaic and blatantly offensive television format leaves for unsettling viewing . The whole thing is done like some pyschotic carnival with the star attraction being black buffoons . However, this does have a point . This forces the viewer to confront some questions in themselves as to how they feel about watching this . Of course this leaves you uncomfortable, but why does it leave you uncomfortable?Spike Lee doesn't just show this to give the audience some cinematic history lesson . This film makes the claim that some African American actors are still in the blackface mentality, just sans blackface . This film takes some jabs at today's rap artists and actors . During commercials of the show, there are some hilarious parodies of commercials directed towards the black audience . When Pierre accepts some awards for his show, his acceptance speeches are a direct parody of Cuba Gooding Jr. and Ving Rhames accepting their awards . A sub plot of this film involves an radical and revolutionary minded underground rap group called the Mau Maus (named for a bloody revolution led in Kenya against the British ruling class in 1951) that try to take down the show . They're angry about the show and it's negative stereotypes . The Mau Maus are all about social reform . However, their actions are often confused and very misguided . They mean well, but they feel the only way to get their point made is through violence . The Mau Maus are in this film to show that not everbody is accepting of this show and that there is a counterpoint to all the black entertainers who perform in "blackface" .This film is another powerful addition to the Spike Lee's canon . While it may have been ignored today, it's social relevance will not be lost and I'm sure that down the line, this film will be viewed as a classic . It's shocking, yet funny . This is a bold work, one that takes a lot of courage to view . Go rent it as soon as possible . I just hope that a copy is there when you go to see it . Apparently, some chains don't possess the courage to retail this film out . It may not scream box office, but it is still important .

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