Review: Bright | Redbrick | University of Birmingham

Review: Bright

Film Critic Thomas Leaman is not feeling the magic in the Netflix original fantasy-cop-drama Bright, the latest from Suicide Squad Director David Ayer

Incomprehensible. Hopelessly convoluted. Dull. Disaster. These are just some of the adjectives and adverbs you would find from mainstream reviewers to describe Netflix’s latest $90 million project Bright. The fantasy action film, starring Will Smith and Joel Edgerton and produced by Suicide Squad director David Ayer, is on the whole deserving of such criticism. The plot itself is a bizarre crossover between a stereotypical American cop movie and the world of orcs, elves and fairies, centred on the broken professional relationship between Smith and Edgerton’s Police characters (Daryl Ward and orc officer Nick Jakoby). As ever, the protagonists are forced to put their differences aside to prevent a greater evil; in this instance, their aim is to prevent a magic wand discovered on a routine night patrol from falling into the hands of ‘brights’ (the only beings capable of harvesting its full, terrible power).

Despite the overwhelmingly negative reviews, it must be said that Bright does have a promising opening thirty or so minutes. From there, however, the plot spirals out of control and hits every American cop movie cliché going, from abandoned warehouses to the inevitable fuel explosions.

The plot spirals out of control and hits every American cop movie cliché
Attention is constantly drawn from the storyline by the constant rain of bullets and gunfire, making the already complex film downright convoluted. In regards to the story of Ward and Jakoby (without giving anything away), one could have guessed the ending of Bright early on without too much difficulty.

That being said, Bright does have its moments; the routine patrol gone-wrong scene is genuinely tense, and the film overall is improved by a unique soundtrack with original music from the likes of Bastille, Rag ‘n’ Bone Man, Logic and Alt-J.

The film overall is improved by a unique soundtrack
Much like Suicide Squad, the soundtrack is one of the main positives which Netflix are milking for all its worth, having already released Bright: The Album. Moreover, Ayer uses Smith and Edgerton’s opposed characters to attempt to convey a (rather condescending) running theme of racial acceptance throughout the movie, though like many of the positive aspects this soon gets lost within the myriad of chaos.

The overall negativity surrounding Bright could, however, stem from the fact that Netflix developed the film for streaming, independently from the more traditional means of cinema. It would certainly be interesting to see how Bright would have been viewed had it been developed and shown through more conventional means. Despite this, the movie held in high regard by Netflix has clearly fallen short of their expectations (though according to the Independent Will Smith has already been signed up for a sequel).

Verdict: Bright must be credited for its interesting concept, though it is fraught with issues, including its reliance on special effects and overused cop movie clichés. While the words used at the top of the article may be extreme in their criticisms, they certainly portray a more accurate review of Bright than the exceptionally rare positive reviews to be found.




27th December 2017 at 9:00 am

Images from

Movieweb and theunheardnerd