Movie review / ‘Brightburn’ (MA)

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DIRECTOR David Yarovesky and writer brothers Brian and Mark Gunn might have made a movie with more bite, less flab than “Brightburn” (the Kansas town where its shenanigans evolve) that some commentators describe as “a radical new genre: super-hero horror”.

I wondered, how might that new genre have developed if Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster had created a super-villain who emerged from that phone box after a quick costume change as a man of steel intent not on saving the world, rather, on destroying it.

One school of thought might favour such a move. But Superman began as a good guy and we’re stuck with the consequences.

Tori and Kyle have a small library of books about getting pregnant. No matter how hard they try, they don’t. Then, hey presto, they have a boy-child Brandon (played at age 12 by 16-year-old Jackson A Dunn).

Kyle (David Denman) is an outdoors kind of guy who wants the boy to grow into one. The Brothers Gunn have written Tori (Elizabeth Banks) as obsessive about her little boy who can do no wrong and whom she must care for, nurture and protect like he was more fragile and valuable than antique crystal glassware. The decision to write her that way is the key to the film’s shortfall.

By the time various townsfolk have died with nobody having the least suspicion of Brandon’s role in their demise, the film had for me descended into a superior degree of silliness. Others in the audience said they’d liked it. Different folks, different strokes. Waiting for “Brightburn” to end was, for me, discomforting. But I did like how Brandon deals with Tori – carrying her up into space and dropping her off.

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"Brightburn" (MA) *
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Dougal Macdonald
“CityNews” film reviewer

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