7.9/10
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M.I.A: Born Free (2010)

Music video by M.I.A. performing 'Born Free'.

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Cast

Uncredited cast:
Austin Applegate ...
Ginger (uncredited)
...
Ginger (uncredited)
Emett Casey ...
Ginger (uncredited)
...
Swat (uncredited)
Michael Farrell ...
Ginger (uncredited)
...
Ginger (uncredited)
Ian Hamrick ...
Ginger (uncredited)
Garth R. Hassell ...
Swat (uncredited)
Gunnar Jaffarian ...
Ginger (uncredited)
...
Walker lady (uncredited)
...
Naked woman (uncredited)
Mikey Lyons ...
Ginger (uncredited)
Lowell Muenchau ...
Swat (uncredited)
Chad Neace ...
Ginger (uncredited)
Peter Nuoffer ...
Swat (uncredited)
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Storyline

Music video by M.I.A. performing 'Born Free'.

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Details

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Release Date:

26 April 2010 (USA)  »

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Budget:

$250,000 (estimated)
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User Reviews

Impacting concept and music which is stylishly delivered but the point and politics are lost in there somewhere (SPOILERS)
21 January 2014 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

It isn't very often I have to correct Theo Robertson but this is one of the rare occasions, so I will point out that obviously Theo came to this short film without knowing that the "score" he talks about was not really part of the film but rather the other way round since this is essentially an extended music video for an M.I.A. track. She is an artist I can take or leave personally; she has done some very good stuff and works well with certain producers but at times her deliberately provocative actions make her seem petulant rather than the anarchist that she wants to be. Likewise her politics sometimes appear to be decided by whatever is opposite to the "norm" rather than being part of a fully thought-out philosophy. These are both relevant things when it comes to this film.

First the material itself. The plot sees a SWAT team storming a building looking for someone, smashing in doors and going flat to flat. The atmosphere is oppressive and the track actually works since it is pumping and aggressive. Of course as almost everyone will know already, the film is about them rounding up red-heads, which is a rather big twist since normally on news footage we would see such raids rounding up those with much darker features – not pale skin, freckles and a shock of ging on top (and I say this as one touched by the auburn myself). What follows is a rather violent sequence which is stylized a bit too much for my taste and, while horrific in its content, loses some of its power by not seeming to have a great deal behind it. As I said, sometimes MIA's point or politics can be lost in her music and I felt this was the case with the film – the point was to shock I guess and present terrible things we are perhaps used to hearing about in far off places, but put it slap-bang in the middle of our world with the red-heads.

As an atmosphere the film works and it is stylishly directed even if some of this took away from the horror. The MIA track I actually really liked and it does work with the film but it really is a music video in terms of its content once you get away from the impacting and interesting concept – I think maybe 5 more minutes of content to give more context and make the statement a bit more obvious would have been useful and would have made it into a better short film and not just a controversial music video.


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