Bodied is a new film produced by Eminem and directed by Joseph Kahn. It is about a progressive graduate student who begins to find success in the competitive battle rap arena after becoming obsessed with it as the subject of his thesis.
This movie certainly doesn’t pull back on its punches, and it benefits from that. The film is about an artform that is notorious for pushing the envelope of what is considered acceptable and what is considered taboo. As such, it pushes any boundaries it can, allowing for some great comedic moments. However, this also means that the movie is not for the easily offended.
It is quite easy to get absorbed in to the film, even if you don’t have any knowledge or experience of the subject matter. Since the protagonist is an outsider, audience members who feel like outsiders on the world are still able to connect to the movie. In doing so, the film is making its hard-hitting social and racial commentary more accessible to a wider audience.
It can be argued that this film is attempting to “whitesplain” the issues that plague African-Americans in American society today. However, the movie also uses the fact that the protagonist is an entitled white kid to its advantage, even poking fun at itself for using that device.
The film also contains a great deal of humor. Obviously, there are the insults that are a large part of battle rap, and those are quite funny. Even better, though, is the movie’s ability to use irony to create situations that are awkwardly humorous. This style lent itself to some of the best scenes in the film.
That being said, it still feels overlong. It is a two-hour long comedy, and that is a bit excessive. The beginning and end were both great. It was the middle that could have been trimmed down. There are a few scenes in which it seems like the film is spinning its wheels. If these were absent, it could have been much tighter.
There are also a few subplots that are unsatisfying. The main one involves the protagonist’s girlfriend. Her character is very annoying and the protagonist doesn’t seem to know it, which is annoying in itself. Although a few funny moments come out of their interactions, it doesn’t add enough to the movie to warrant confusion.
The film’s execution has mixed results too. It is built very much like a video, with rapid editing and lots of graphics superimposed onto the footage. To an extent, it is immersive, as that is the medium in which most people would discover battle rap. However, this also makes the movie feel slightly amateurish at times.
Overall, despite its flaws, Bodied is an enjoyable and interesting film. It is definitely different, but it is worth stepping outside of your comfort zone to give it a shot.
Bodied is now playing in select theaters and is available on YouTube Premium November 28.