Branded - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Branded Reviews

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August 8, 2016
The critics got it oh so wrong... this movie is great. You get to see first hand what happens when global greed gets a foothold... well, in case of today's world... & even large foothold... sincerely, everyone should watch this film... that has a huge message about what's happening to our world today... & for years to come if we don't wake up.
Robert B.
Super Reviewer
September 28, 2015
Branded is an odd film. It is not exactly satire, nor is it a thriller, nor is it a mystical adventure. The plot feels very random. It is like eating something exotic that tastes interesting, but one would not want another serving. Try it if you want to experience something different.
September 10, 2015
I signed up to RT just to review this movie. I can't tell you how much grief I got when I told everyone I knew how great Until the End of the World was. Same thing happened with Desire and Hell at the Sunset Motel. It took years for these movies to build a following and I have no doubt that this movie Branded will follow this proud tradition of overcoming the thoughtless and finding the love of the truly independent.
May 9, 2015
The movie really boring to me. The trailer make it seem good but not. Good part only like 30 min or less at the end of the film.
February 28, 2015
I so wanted to love this indictment of cutthroat marketing, but it really is just not a good movie. The themes it explores and its story ideas are intelligent and relevant, however the performances are weak, even Von Sydow seems to be phoning it in. I think the voice over was added to give it a "Network" feel, but it just ends up feeling intrusive and artificial. I would love to see this idea get re-worked by an indie style production and see what they come up with.
January 27, 2015
I am never watching this.
November 17, 2014
I love this movie! Regardless of other reviewers opinions, I think it's well worth the time.
Super Reviewer
½ October 5, 2014
In "Branded," Misha(Ed Stoppard) is struck by lightning as a child. So, as an adult, he can do no better than getting a job in marketing in Moscow, working for Bob(Jeffrey Tambor) who is in reality a front for the CIA. Still, Misha has done well enough for himself to help Abby(Leelee Sobieski) get her reality program off the ground.

"Branded" aims to have some very pointed and intelligent things to say about marketing and body image but manages nothing that has already covered better by the likes of Dr, Seuss and Bill Hicks. Even then, the movie feels desperately random and all over the place, as it also tries to bring up subjects like fate. So random is it that Max von Sydow feels like he is in a different movie entirely which I am not ruling out by the way. With Ed Stoppard being a complete non-entity in the lead, that leaves the always appealing Leelee Sobieski nowhere to go. At least when the movie finally gets weird, it is actually an imaginatively looking weird.
October 4, 2014
This movie is an unfortunate case of doubting the intelligence of it's audience. The premise of seeing the corporate strings influencing our everyday lives isn't a bad one, and i enjoyed a lot of the movie, especially Misha's tactical battle against the old corporate guy who's name i don't remember, which just goes to show how much the movie thought that was important, but the cheese CGI monsters and focus thereof, took the intellectual bite out of what could have potentially been a thrilling and brilliant movie. We don't need to see CGI monsters to understand the concept of corporate influence, we don't need to watch them fight to understand the concept behind mud slinging marketing tactics, and you don't need to sacrifice a cow in order to see the cynical design of the world. A potentially gripping intellectual thriller doesn't need giant blob monsters to make sure we get the message.

I wouldn't call this movie bad, it was still enjoyable, but i will say it's a very unfortunate waste of a premise that could have made a truly unforgettable movie.
½ September 3, 2014
Poor Leelee Sobieski......she used to have a career, but nobody would ever believe it after watching this dreck. There really is nothing I can single out that was worthwhile in this film. But, it is always sad when you see a former talent fall to such a level as this. Get Leelee a new agent, stat!!!
August 3, 2014
Simpática sátira. Una de las mejores cintas en lo que va de década y probablemente una de las mas subvaloradas. Antes de mirarla, recomiendo echar un ojo al traíler, si no les gusta lo que ven, mejor abstenerse.
½ July 27, 2014
This is going to be a tough one to review because I'm not sure if I completely understand it and that doesn't happen to often with me, so you know it has to be pretty complicated. It very artsy fartsy and there are a lot of messages going on in it and they don't give them to you on a silver platter. You will have to concentrate on this one and even then, good luck. It's about an advertising executive that goes way too far to sell products. It's about consumerism and how it has become an integral part of our culture. It also seems to infuse a little bit a supernatural aspects to it in the form of a ritual performed by the advertising agent where he slaughters bull. It has these cute and weird looking creatures coming out of people's bodies that look like they would be designed by a Japanese or Animae company almost. These creatures swayed you to do things for instant gratification like eating a ton of fast food and getting fat. So there is also a statement about obesity in our society. The movie makes a lot of good points and I appreciate what it's trying so say and it certainly does have a style all its own. It's not imitative of anything I've ever seen which makes it a little difficult to wrap my brain around it. My brain almost hurts trying to decipher it. I just wish it was a bit more accessible. I love the visuals. They are really funky. The only two people I recognize in it are Ed Stoppard, Leelee Sobieski, Jeffrey Tambor and Max von Sydow, so it's a pretty good cast and they all do a good job. Check it out if you want a mind bending experience.
½ July 14, 2014
"Piece O garbage". I love Lee Lee Sobieski and wanted this to be good, but now I can say as much as I love Lee Lee this is the worst movie she has ever been in. I love Jeffrey Tambor and have to say the worst movie he has ever chose to be in as well. If I could go back and delete the memory out of my brain I would.
June 30, 2014
Amazing show. Ignore the negative reviews. Apparently they thought the movie was supposed to be funny. It isn't.

This story is supposed to be engaging and serious. You're supposed to think about this story and come out going, "Oh, that's messed up." The main topic tackled in this plot is branding (obviously), something we deal with everyday of our lives. It is manipulated in minute, but subversive ways. Branded takes that seriously. It delivers a serious story to a serious topic. I personally found the characters to be engaging and found the plot to be relatable. And when one of the characters starts seeing things in a different . . . Light, well, things get complicated, as they should.

I will go ahead and add that there are two plots here. The first one involves the rise of our main character and a fall from grace. The second involves a resurrection of sorts and him being drawn back into an environment he left far behind. The first story runs through just fine. The second? It has some problems, but it is rather intriguing none-the-less. The ending to this movie is horrible. I think it was forced after the fact. It should have ended in a hard gritty way, possibly with our main character dead. Instead we get a happy go-lucky, unbelievable ending (as in, I didn't buy it). I can't help but think the current ending is because some studio head had them tack it on after all the filming had been done.

The reasons for my positive review:

It DOES reach outside the box and tickle your imagination, and the vast majority of the story is decent to great. For that it gets 4 out of 5 stars. For the fact it tackles branding in a way that most stories just don't, it gets 5 out of 5.

I don't know why everyone else rated it so lowly. Maybe they've gotten used to plots from movies like Transformers and the Phantom Menace. Plots that are riddled with holes, none-sense, and a lack of depth. This isn't one of those. Watch it and 'ad' your voice here.
½ June 2, 2014
Surprisingly great performances, but nothing makes any sense, overall bizarre
½ May 20, 2014
A very weird flick with an absurd plot and some of the worst acting ever. Only bearable to watch because of all its silliness...
May 9, 2014
Waste of a great concept. Just another movie to add to the long list of worst movies ever made. Don't waste your time (unless of course you're curious to see how awful it is).
May 1, 2014
naive and preachy but also mostly right,its ambitious but all over the place, a dead serious satyrical genre hopper thats so bonkers its actually rich. Critics demolished it but theres far worse fare that somehow didnt get as reviled. Its an interesting experiment if you allow yourself to indulge it.
March 16, 2014
Will you like this movie? Not if you just want to sit back and be does have a good plot and acting, as well as decent CGI....what it doesn't have is an easy to swallow, cookie-cutter script....
½ March 11, 2014
The people who put "Branded" together clearly had a message they wanted to tell but as the movie plays out, it becomes obvious that they had no idea what they were doing or how to convey their point. Watching this movie is akin to talking to a crazed, homeless person ramble about the evils of advertising while a pompous college student who's taken a single class about marketing argues with him. It's a true oddity because it is simultaneously boring and captivating. It's boring because it often makes no sense and drifts around aimlessly but it's also such a colossal train wreck that you can't keep your eyes off of it. This movie is so out-there that you can't give a synopsis without spoiling things because each scene seems barely connected to the previous or the next one. So I guess this is an official SPOILER ALERT! Although, even if I spoil everything that is going to happen there is no way you will actually believe me. But don't take my word for it, read on.

The movie begins with our main character seeing stars come to life and getting hit by a bolt of lightning before the beginning credits even finish this is a symbol of his divine-given gift for marketing. In present-day Russia, Misha (Ed Stoppard) has grown up to become a high-powered advertising executive. An evil council representing the fast food restaurant chains of the world hires him to help promote a new reality TV show. It turns out that in the future, people have become wise to the damaging side-effects of eating unhealthy food and that the big companies are losing a ton of money. The executives join together under the advice of a mysterious figure, which one can only assume is the devil (played by Max von Sydow). He tells them that to bring the profits back into their pockets, they will need to make fat the new fabulous. Misha is put in charge of the TV show, where an overweight girl is going to receive a complete makeover, complete with lyposuction. The evil companies set the first operation for a catastrophic failure and the public turns against skinny body types, just as the villains predicted they would. Misha is so ashamed and guilty over this development that he becomes a hermit, believing his marketing powers to be a curse.

Six years later he gets brought back to civilization by his lover Abby (Leelee Sobieski), who reveals to him that she has fathered his son, but not before he sacrifices a red cow to the full moon in order to enhance his marketing powers and get back at the companies that used him. This is where the movie really gets crazy. When Misha walks back into the city he discovers that he has the ability to literally see the brand-related desires of everyone, including his family. Bizarre, colourful creatures grow on top of people's heads until they desire is satisfied and they float away, combining together to create a giant brand identity. Let me see if I can explain that by giving you an example of how it would work in the real world. So let's say I saw and advertisement to see "Branded" and wanted to see it. A small creature, representing the public image of the film would start growing on me, being fed by my desire to see the film as I get bombarded by advertisements until I go inside the theatre and watch the movie, at which point the bloated creature, now satisfied would float away, combining itself with the already existing, giant central "Branded" entity, which now becomes larger and more powerful.

To combat the fast food industry, Misha sets up a two-pronged advertising captain for a vegetarian restaurant, promoting their nutritious food and generating paranoia among the people by insinuating that ground beef is contaminated. The campaign works so effectively that it soon becomes the norm for all advertising. Now, instead of promoting how good cars are, companies tell you what a lousy idea spending money on diapers is, bullying you into buying their produts... somehow. As Misha sees it, this development manifests itself into the brand of the world actually fighting each other like giant monsters, hacking off each other's limbs and devouring each other. Just as the story becomes exciting, the people of the world decide that enough is enough and they band together to destroy all of the advertising in the world. A giant cow constellation in the sky tells us that the world has changed forever, thanks to Misha!

Ok, so from that synopsis, if you were to rent this movie and sit down to watch it, you would be preparing yourself for an absurdist perhaps artsy movie that's going to be kind of quirky, with some awesome monster sequences towards the end. That's not what you get at the beginning though, you get what of feels like a ridiculous quasi comedy about a guy that works in marketing and advertising. You see over-the-top characters interacting with our protagonist and these really weird, terrible pieces of advertising throughout and you think to yourself "ok, so this has to be some kind of satirical piece". Then you meet the antagonists, the heads of every fast-food corporations of the world, who have become desperate to make more money to the point of selling their souls to Satan. I'll admit I'm not certain the character Joseph Pascal is supposed to be demonic, but it really feels like he is supposed to. He tells them that people's desire to be thin and healthy has ruined their industry and to get back on top, they'll have to re-create the world's idea of beauty. Ok, so what do we get from there? This sounds like something that's completely different from before. A few minutes prior you were seeing a guy get chewed out by his boss because the 5-second ad for the horror movie he made had the wrong kind of scream in it and now we're talking about a global conspiracy? There's evil secret plots going on, weird revelations about our characters, a love plot, some pseudo-intellectual messages about marketing, some of which is true, some of which is pretty questionable (did you know for example that Lenin invented marketing in 1918? If that doesn't sound right, pat yourself on the shoulder) and you also get some comedic hi-jinks too. Then all of a sudden, it changes again. Our character has an existential crisis, we get weird symbolism, pagan rituals and talks about destiny. We're introduced to this crazy dystopian future where fast food almost rules the world and you start getting frustrated because you can't figure out what the movie is trying to do at all and a lot of it makes no sense whatsoever. Plot points get introduced and dropped seemingly at random and it feels like the movie's completely given up on making any sense whatever. There's symbolism all over the place, characters start acting really illogically (if you're seeing things that nobody else can, maybe you should either try acting normal or go see a psychiatrist instead of screaming and destroying everything around you) and you even get giant monsters thrown in on top of all that. Too bad those monsters look pretty terrible, thanks to the lousy CGI effects, something I could have forgiven if the movie was actually decent.

While the movie is certainly never boring because things keep happening and you can never predict it, you eventually just give up and start watching it in a zombie-like trance just to get it over with. The movie feels like it's pieced together from bits of other random movies with a lot of the movie's crucial plot elements delivered by an omnipotent narrator to help fill in the gaps between scenes. "Branded" feels like it drags on forever and in some ways it's such a mess that you have to see it to believe it but sitting through it is also feels like an Herculean task. Overall it's an absolute mess that feels like someone who has only the vaguest idea of what branding and marketing is trying to explain to you what it is, how it works and why it's evil with ham-fisted symbolism and ridiculous plot points. It's never really boring but it's never really coherent either so see it at your own risk. (On Dvd, April 12, 2013)
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