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Bankrolled Film Review

★ Stars

Directed by: #MarcosBucay

Written by: #MarcosBucay

Two men stands in front of a wall covered in a green sheet, their faces lit up by desk lamps. They look into the lens of a camera (phone) that is set up in front of them as they fix their hair and clothes, preparing for recording.

“Two directionless millennial bros get high and pitch a bold new social justice app that raises millions. Now they have to come up with the app.”

Bankrolled is bursting with different concepts and intertwining subjects, but do they really fit well together? These certain subjects might have the ability to intertwine in a film but that doesn’t mean they fit together to make an enjoyable experience. Polo (Aldo Escalante) and Blas (Ricardo Polanco) manage to generate an idea for an app without anticipating how much attention the pitch could possibly receive. Audience members follow their fairly distasteful journey of attempting to make the app a reality and gain amounts of money they could have only dreamt of before. The story flows in a way that makes me wonder if writer and director Marcos Bucay approached the making of Bankrolled with a similar speed – here’s a pitch for a plot, but let’s just see where it goes from here now…

The most obvious point to make about Bankrolled is that it is a comedy with no comedic substance. Instead of laughs or even small smiles, the screen was met with my frowned brows for pretty much the whole duration. The film has been written in such a bright light of trying to be funny that it completely misses the mark. The cringing exaggeration of certain characters’ actions and conversations actually makes them more dull due to the fact that they don’t have solid personalities in the first place. When dialogue is foul and at times quite robotic it really doesn’t help the lack of positive or negative emotional output. As well as this, the subjects being discussed within the film being so vastly different from each other makes most characters feel out of place in the story, especially from a viewer’s wider perspective.

Despite the overwhelming arrogance of the characters and the story they are involved in, Escalante and Polanco create a rapport between their characters that gives audience members a bit of a break through Bankrolled’s duration. Their chemistry as friends unfolds naturally and is one thing that doesn’t lack an initial sense of connection. Their bickering at times acts as a short burst of comic relief in the film; they aren’t necessarily outright funny interactions but are definitely just a moment to let you exhale the breath you didn’t realise you were holding.

Surprisingly, Bankrolled introduces incredibly interesting subjects into its storyline, such as toxic masculinity, body shaming, forms of narcissism and performative activism. The disappointing thing is that it doesn’t tackle any of these issues in the right way. They are brought into the plot and their value then diminished by obnoxious comedy and, at times, unnecessary snarky comments. This is where you’ll see the intertwining of different concepts in film that simply don’t sit well together — this type of comedy paired with serious matters is like finding a piece of a jigsaw in an entirely different box of other pieces.

Bankrolled, now streaming on Netflix, has an average running time that unfortunately feels like an eternity. Although, depending on your sense of humour I guess, you might enjoy this as a lighthearted approach to the growing issues surrounding social media and also the development of new technology.



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