After he performs this ancient ritual (the voiceover tells us condescendingly because, hey, this movie is so smart it has to explain itself to the stupid, stupid viewers) it cleanses Misha to the point where he finally sees the world for what it is: people with colorful monsters around their necks whispering to them ‘buy that burger,’ ‘and the fries,' and ‘don’t forget the ketchup’. (All this craziness is interspersed with scenes where Misha and Abby watch the sunrise (or sunset) together because Russians think it is the sign of deep spiritual movement to show characters doing that in movies.)
To battle with the overriding corporations, Misha makes up rumors against competing corporations and trains ‘brand dragons’ to slay the bad burger monsters (and other monsters such as Yepple, Vipsache, Zvezdochka, Roshoz, Monolit, etc). The happy end is that Moscow is virginally ad-free, and you can really see the Stalinist architecture (no, it wasn’t built to intimidate and subdue, not at all).
Shame, oh the shame
Writers-producers-directors Jamie Bradshaw and Alexsandr Dulerayn do a very bad job at everything here. Do they even know of such people as Noam Chomsky and what he has to say about mass media? Have they seen George Romero’s Dawn of the Living Dead? Their amateur efforts are simply insulting to the art of cinema.
The plot bleeds itself to death. The costumes and visual effects are ugly. The story is so idiotic that the narrator has to explain the action to the viewers (screen text and dream sequences also abound). The understanding of social studies and consumer behavior is laughable: just because a model dies of anorexia in Brazil, being obese suddenly becomes popular in their world. It’s also funny how the makers of Branded are so quick to criticize the American marketing model while they conveniently forget that in Russia Ca(CIO)2 is used to wash floors in schools and nurseries, colorants that are banned all over the world are added to food routinely, and asbestos is used in construction up to this day. Look up hypocrisy in the dictionary.
Far away from reality
Ironically enough, Branded is made for an audience of simple-minded commoners who watch television incessantly and become the armchair experts who know everything about everything. This version of society is so far away from reality, it hurts: recent research of consumer shopping patterns shows that people know very well what they are buying, why they are buying it, and are willing to spend hours online doing research to find the best products at the best price. With blogs growing steadily all the time, the trend is only likely to continue, with consumers being at their most educated than at any other time in history. Eat this, Branded – your vision is as obsolete as the world where what was said on television mattered.