Based on the character created by Sacha Baron Cohen, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan is the sequel to the 2006 film about the Kazakhstan journalist who returns to America in hopes to bring new relations with the country for Kazakhstan by offering his daughter to the American vice president during the U.S. Presidential elections and the COVID-19 pandemic. Directed by Jason Woliner and screenplay by Sacha Baron Cohen, Peter Baynham, Jena Friedman, Anthony Hines, Lee Kern, Dan Mazer, Erica Rivinoja, and Dan Swimer from a story by Cohen, Swimer, Anthony Hines, and Nina Pedrad, the film has the trouble-making Kazakhstan journalist go to America where he’s joined by his 15-year old daughter as they explore the country during a tumultuous time as Cohen reprises the role of Borat Sagdiyev with Maria Bakalova as his daughter Tutar. Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan is a wild and exhilarating film from Jason Woliner.
Fourteen years after Borat Sagdiyev went to America where he brought a lot of exposure to Kazakhstan only to be sent to the gulag with the country’s reputation in tatters due to his exploits. The film has the journalist return to America in the hopes to restore relations with Kazakhstan by offering a monkey as a gift to its leaders. Yet, upon arriving to the U.S., Borat learned that his daughter Tutar had smuggled herself and killed the monkey where Borat realizes that he can offer her as a gift to the country. It’s a film that has this journalist who doesn’t know much about anything other than what he learned from his own country as he takes his daughter on this adventure through America during a tumultuous time in its presidential election as well as the COVID-19 pandemic. Along the way during this road trip through America, Borat learns about Tutar as well as dealing with everything he’s been taught about the ways of the world including a book about how to deal with girls/women in regards to Tutar.
During the course of the entire film as the two try to understand American culture with Borat having to take on many disguises as he’s already recognized from his reports years ago. The film’s screenplay doesn’t have much of a plot yet it does show some advancement in the character development of both Borat and Tutar with the former becoming more concerned for her as a father yet he has to deliver her to the American Vice President Mike Pence or anyone else in the current administration so he can avoid more trouble in Kazakhstan. For the latter, she would discover a world that is far removed from what she knows other than just living in a squalor and dreaming of living in a golden cage like the American first lady. Yet, she would also learn about how women in America live both conservative and liberal as it would lead to a brief split between her and her father.
Jason Woliner’s direction definitely plays up the mockumentary-style that was told in the previous film yet considering that it was shot largely on location in the U.S. during what was (and currently as of November 2020) a tumultuous period at the time during its presidential election and worldwide COVID-19 pandemic. While a lot of the compositions are straightforward with Woliner and cinematographer Luke Geissbuhler shooting everything with Geissbuhler as much of the photography is straightforward with some available light used for some of the interior/exterior scenes at night. Yet, there is something free-wielding into the fact that both Borat and Tutar go into events such as a debutante ball or other events where they shock people who have no idea who they really are. The sense of the unknown and shock factor add to the humor while there are also scenes that prove to be touching such as Borat going into a synagogue as a way to cope with loss where he meets Holocaust survivor Judith Dim Evans.
Scenes that include Tutar meeting and learning ideas from professional babysitter Jeanise Jones also have humor but also some heart. The moments where Borat meet QAnon believers Jerry Holleman and Jim Russell who take Borat in during quarantine reveal a kindness as Borat doesn’t make fun of them but show them as actual human beings. Still, there are some hilarious moments such as Borat in a costume as the American president trying to crash a conservative convention featuring Mike Pence while him in another disguise as Country Steve at a MAGA rally prove to be funny. Yet, the film’s climax that involves former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani as his appearance in the film is the most shocking as he is unaware of who both Borat and Tutar are. Especially since the latter is a 15-year old girl yet Giuliani seems to have no problem with that as his actions in the film prove that he’s not just immoral but also a disgusting human being as it definitely breaks aspects of the fourth wall despite the fact that Giuliani is unaware that he’s in a movie. Overall, Woliner crafts a witty yet satirical film about a journalist and his daughter traveling to America to restore talks with their country of Kazakhstan.
Editors Craig Alpert, Michael Giambra, and James Thomas do excellent work with the editing as it is largely straightforward but also in a few montages and slow-motion shots. Production designer David Saenz de Maturana, with set decorators Jill McGraw and Bryan Walior plus art directors Vraciu Eduard Daniel, John Lavin, and Silvia Nancu, does amazing work with the look of some of the set design for some of the scenes set in Kazakhstan as well as the look of the truck and horse carriage that Borat drives through America. Costume designer Erinn Knight does fantastic work with some of the clothes that Borat and Tutar would wear during their journey as it play into some funny moments but also moments of character development.
Special makeup effects artists Barney Burman, Laura Dandridge, and Ragnar Jorunndottir, plus hair designer Peter Swords King, do incredible work with the look of some of the disguises that Borat would wear to not be recognized that are funny as well as the look of Tutar early in the film before her makeover. Sound editors Andrew DeCristofaro and Darren “Sunny” Warkentin do superb work with the sound in capturing some of the available sound on location as well as some sound montages that play into the issues that Borat has to face in case he failed his mission. The film’s music by Erran Baron Cohen does brilliant work with the film’s music with its humorous approach to Eastern European folk music with some brass arrangements and such while music supervisor Richard Henderson provides a fun soundtrack that features an array of pop, hip-hop, rock, and country with some Eastern European folk spin on a few of those songs as it also includes a country original that Borat sings as Country Steve in Wuhan Flu Song which is quite catchy.
The casting by Nancy Bishop and Kris Redding is wonderful for not just the actors they got to appear in the film but also the real-life people who were unaware that they were being filmed as real-life people such as the professional babysitter Jeanise Jones, Holocaust survivor Judith Dim Evans (whom the film is dedicated to), QAnon followers Jerry Holleman and Jim Russell as they come off as genuine and nice people who do show some humanity. Especially Holleman and Russell who are two decent men that have their hearts in the right place despite their politics and the misinformation they’re being fed. Others such as Instagram influencer Mary Chanel, salesman Bryan Patrick Snyder, and debutante coach Dr. Jean Sheffield are also worth noting as kind people while the film also feature cameo appearances from Tom Hanks as himself (one of the few who knew what was going on), American vice president Mike Pence, and Rudy Giuliani as themselves with Giuliani being the most infamous person on the film due to his immoral actions.
Dani Popescu is excellent as Kazakhstan’s leader Premier Nursultan Nazarbayev as a political official who would send Borat to America in the hope that Borat would redeem himself and the country though he has an ulterior motive to send Borat to the U.S. Finally, there’s the duo of Sacha Baron Cohen and Maria Bakalova in phenomenal performances in their respective roles as the father-daughter duo of Borat and Tutar Sagdiyev. Bakalova’s performance is the true discovery as she provides not just this are of energy and innocence but also the willingness to take things really far as well as provide a lot of the film’s heartfelt moments. Cohen’s performance is lively in a man that is not just known for creating mischief but also deal with what is at stake for himself where he also learns about some harsh truths including his own misogynist attitude as it relates to Tutar. Cohen and Bakalova together aren’t just a joy to watch in how funny they are but also play into these tender moments of a father and daughter learning more about each other but also realize that they bring the best in each other as they’re the real highlight of the film.
Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan is a spectacular film from Jason Woliner that features tremendous performances from Sacha Baron Cohen and Maria Bakalova. While it may not be as outrageous as its predecessor, it is a film that manages to be so much more of not just exploring American culture from a foreigner’s perspective but also a journey of a father and daughter bonding together. Even as it still manages to be funny and shocking that includes an unforgettable moment involving Rudy Giuliani who is indeed an irredeemable and inapprehensible person who should be in prison and rot in prison. In the end, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan is a sensational film from Jason Woliner.
Related: (Ali G Indahouse) - (Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan) – (Bruno (2009 film)) – (The Dictator (2012 film)) – (Grimsby)
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