By James Fagan, Photojournalist
The movie Bright is a social commentary about the state of society. The Netflix original movie that was released on December 22 of last year. Bright is set in a world where humans live alongside several mythical races such as orcs, elves, dwarves and fairies. While the humans in the Bright universe serve as a social middle class, the orcs are a lower social class and the elves are a high social class. The movie features talents such as Will Smith playing Daryl Ward, a police officer who has just returned to work after being shot in the line of duty, and Joel Edgerton, who plays Nick Jakoby, the nation’s first orcish police officer, and also Daryl’s partner on the police force.
Bright begins with a scene showing Daryl getting shot by an Orc while on patrol with Nick. Soon after Nick starts chasing the perpetrator on foot, but the perpetrator gets away. The following scene shows Daryl in his house, some time later, fully recovered and getting ready for his first day back on the police force. Soon after Nick shows up and picks up Daryl and his daughter, who is going to her grandmother’s house for the day. Once Daryl brings his daughter into her grandmother’s house she tells him that she wishes he wasn’t a cop, because she thinks that being Nick’s partner is going to get him killed.
When Daryl gets to work he goes to the locker room to put on his uniform and he is confronted by several other police officers on the force. They tell him that he should try to get Nick fired, as they feel that Nick is more loyal to orcs than the police force, and that if he got Daryl shot, there’s no promise that he won’t get someone else on the force killed. Even after standing up for Nick in the locker room, he asks to no longer be partners with him privately, to which he is refused.
Soon Daryl and Nick go on patrol, where they pass by a group of orcs on the street. When this happens Daryl starts berating Nick, bringing up the fact that he was shot and asking Nick if he is an orc, or a police officer first. Nick responds by saying that he has wanted to be a police officer since he was a child, and that it isn’t fair to treat him the way he is being treated just because he is an orc.
Eventually Daryl and Nick respond to a call and go to a house, where they get into an exchange of gunfire, after the exchange they enter the house where the gunfire was coming from. In the house they find symbols related to the inferni, a group of renegade elves whose goal is to bring about the return of the dark lord using three magic wands. As they scope out the house they find an elf girl named Tikka who has a magic wand. Daryl and Nick then take the girl and the wand into custody and ask for backup. When the backup comes they try to take the wand for themselves so they can try to kill Nick so they don’t have to have him on the police force anymore, but Daryl and Nick escape with the girl and the wand.
Upon rumors of a wand in the town getting out, a human gang, an orc gang, and the inferni try to track down and attack Daryl and Nick who are already running from the rest of the police force. Several times Daryl, Nick and Tikka have encounters with these multiple groups. This part of the movie is a good way of showing that while some people may have a stereotypical idea of what a bad person may look like, it is not just one group of people who are inherently bad, or good, and that you can find different types of people throughout all layers of our society.
Eventually Tikka gets hurt, and the only way to heal her is to bring her to the Inferni’s base, when they do they are confronted by the Inferni, eventually Nick and Daryl win the fight against the Inferni, but in the process of getting healed, Tikka disappears.
Though Bright is a very good movie, it begins to tell some elements of the story but leaves out some important details. Bright introduces some concepts, such as how different races than the three mentioned impact the society, but these concepts seem as though they won’t be properly explained until the sequel.
Despite having some issues, Bright does a great job of showing race issues that can easily be related to the real world. The movie shows these issues in a way that is important and doesn’t trivialize them. Bright shows the different levels of the current society by using a dynamic of orcs, humans and elves which reflect different social and economic systems, and pleads for a change in society which would make everyone equal.