Bright Lights Up Netflix

Will Smith and Joel Edgerton are cop partners

BY: Zak Wojnar

The latest film from David Ayer has the potential to be a watershed moment for Netflix. The company is investing heavily into its original programming, and their goal is to let filmmakers create the types of movies they might never have the chance to make for the typical theatrical market. Bright, starring Will Smith and Joel Edgerton, is one such film.

Smith and Edgerton star as LAPD cops, but there’s a twist: Edgerton is an Orc. Yes, like the man-like creatures from classic folklore. The world of Bright isn’t quite the same as real life, since monsters and magic are common, everyday features of this urban fantasy version of Los Angeles. The best fantasy always relates to the real world, and the relationship between Orcs and Man have a clear parallel with modern day race relations.

David Ayer is a beloved writer/director, and, while Suicide Squad was a bit of a creative misfire – though it was a massive commercial hit – the auteur still has plenty of good will from movies like Fury, End of Watch, and Dark Blue (which he wrote, but didn’t direct). Bright looks to blend his signature gritty realism and naturalistic dialogue with a wildly unorthodox take on the streets of L.A. Based on the trailer, Will Smith (back from Suicide Squad) looks perfectly cast as a streetwise cop, and his chemistry with Edgerton is just a joy to watch.

Netflix is taking a bold approach with Bright, essentially giving Ayer $90 million and then waiting for him to come back with a movie. This artist-driven approach to making big-budget films has already succeeded in bringing huge talent to the streaming giant. If they can keep the creative juices flowing, Netflix will be a choice destination for big name directors to make big budget movies the big studios would never allow. Netflix and other streaming sites have brought traditional television to its knees. Is the traditional cinema next?

Bright lights up Netflix on December 22nd.