Netflix’s big-budget original film Bright was finally released over the weekend and the reviews were less than favorable. The Will Smith fantasy cop drama wore thin on my critics’ sensibilities, but the flick did much better with audiences per Rotten Tomatoes. However, one viewer managed to sum up the many issues with the movie in just a handful of 280 character tweets — Chance The Rapper, who seems to be wearing his Chance The Movie Critic hat today.
“Wondering how you guys are feeling about the lynched ork in #Brightmovie,” he began, before explaining his view of the problematic depiction of race in the film. “I found the way they tried to illustrate americas racism through the mythical creatures to be a little shallow. #Brightmovie. I always feel a lil cheated when I see allegorical racism in movies cause that racism usually stems from human emotion or tolerance but not by law or systems the way it is in real life. The characters in #Bright live in a timeline where racism is gone… cause we hate ork now.”
The Chicago wordsmith explained further after receiving feedback from fans. One wrote, “If I had to complain about anything…. it’s about the indirect relationship of orcs to black people. That was weird to me.” Chance agreed. “I think the idea is that they’re a step below bottom of the spectrum blackness,” he opined. “Which is why Will’s character, the Mexican cop and the ork have that dialogue in the street.”
When another fan tried to push back, wondering if the point was simply to create an interesting story instead of a racial allegory, Chance deftly killed that notion by borrowing a line straight from the film. “I tried to look at it that way but a few minutes into the movie they make wills character say ‘Fairy Lives don’t Matter,'” he noted, which put the conversation to an end — for the moment.
If only every film critic could be as succinct as Chance (with no offense intended to our colleagues who work extremely hard on those pieces), there might be a smaller gap between those critic and audience scores on Rotten Tomatoes.