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This Review Reveals Minor Details About the Plot.

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Brightburn (2019) on IMDb

Plot Overview

Kansas couple Kyle (David Denman) and Tori Breyer (Elizabeth Banks) own a small farm in Brightburn. Kyle hunts deer, their chickens are subject to predation (“The wolf is back”), the local school mascot is a bird of prey the Eagles, and the Biology teacher covers predator wasps that place their off­spring in the nests of other wasp species to be raised. The Breyers have “not gone to church in a while.” Being desperate about their infertility they “prayed to God for a baby.” Receiving no answer they next “prayed to the Universe.” When that didn't work, they prayed “to anyone” who would listen. Glory be, their prayers were answered when a capsule from space containing a tiny infant crash landed in the woods behind their house.

A series of family photos show him growing up like any other boy, excelling in school, and feeling superior about his destiny. At age twelve Brandon Breyer (Jackson A. Dunn) hits puberty and his body starts to change. His “dad” tells him this is normal and that he went through the same thing when he was his age; every­body did. Yeah, right.


music recitalIt's easy to see a parallel here to the Superman origins/mythos. The creators of Superman were Jewish who derived their character from the Jewish strong­man Samson in a well-known story from the book of Judges. “Brightburn” similarly follows some­what the path of another judge Jephthah a little earlier in the book, which I've expounded on in my review of “Eye in the Sky.” Jephthah made a binding vow—see Num. 30:2—that if God helped him win a certain battle, he would sacrifice the first thing that appeared to greet him from his house when he got home. To his grief it was his beloved daughter playing music for him. Giving her to the Lord meant she would die a virgin having no children and he no heirs. That caused a great lament: (Judges 11:37-40)

“And she said unto her father, Let this thing be done for me: let me alone two months, that I may go up and down upon the mountains, and bewail my virginity, I and my fellows. And he said, Go. And he sent her away for two months: and she went with her companions, and bewailed her virginity upon the mountains. And it came to pass at the end of two months, that she returned unto her father, who did with her according to his vow which he had vowed: and she knew no man. And it was a custom in Israel, That the daughters of Israel went yearly to lament the daughter of Jephthah the Gileadite four days in a year.”

In “Brightburn” the space capsule signals Brandon upon commencement of his puberty, to “Take the world,” making it a matter of sexual conquest. For that he will need a cooperating female whom he sees in class­mate Caitlyn (Emmie Hunter.) He is not about to make the mistake author Joseph Finder wrote about: “He was going far and fast and wanted to travel light. He didn't want to check any baggage. Back then, with a young man's arrogance and obliviousness, he hadn't wanted the entanglement. He was ambitious and she didn't seem to be, didn't seem to fit the profile. She wasn't right for him” (58.) His “dad” mean­while has found his “jerk off material” and feels it his parental duty to have a talk with him. His wife had promised forces unknown that Brandon “needs to know we give a shit.” This talk was their way of showing it.

Instead of advising restraint, the older Breyer advises Brandon to follow his impulses, figuring they're talking about choking the chicken, but Brandon goes and gives Caitlyn a creepy serenade. She responds by dissing him on the play­ground. Brandon retaliates with a physical rebuke that earns him two days suspension and a counseling session. The girl's mother thinks he should have been arrested. It would have been business as usual among apes (chimpanzees.) Who's to judge?

With his super powers, Brandon covers up negative attention to himself over it, leaving behind a lot of bloody bodies and media rumors of a strange flying figure seen in the sky over Bright­burn. It's a frustrated adolescent who is unable to make it with a certain Kansas chick after his adoptive dad spoke inadvisably to him about the birds and the bees.

Production Values

” (2019) was directed by David Yarovesky. It was written by Brian Gunn & Mark Gunn. It stars Elizabeth Banks, David Denman, and Jack­son A. Dunn. The acting was all round great, especially from rookie Jackson Dunn who played Brandon to a psychotic tee.

MPAA rated it R for horror, violence/bloody images, and language. The bloody special effects were entertainingly gross but were never­the­less watchable even though one was similar to an injury I'd once received. The musical score seemed appropriate. The cinema­tog­raphy and direction combined to create a Kafka­esque atmosphere. It was unambitiously short at 1½ hours.

Review Conclusion w/ Christian Recommendation

The Superman franchise resulted in many young boys injuring themselves jumping out their bed­room windows thinking they could fly. I think this one would be more likely to make budding super­heroes want to stay tucked up under their covers—if they were even able to see the R.-rated flick. Aficionados can get their horror fix.

Movie Ratings

Action factor: Edge of your seat action scenes. Suitability For Children: Not Suitable for Children of Any Age. Special effects: Absolutely amazing special effects. Video Occasion: Fit For a Friday Evening. Suspense: Don't watch this movie alone. Overall movie rating: Four stars out of five.

Works Cited

Scripture taken from the King James Version. Pub. 1611, rev. 1769. Software.

Finder, Joseph. The Fixer. New York: DUTTON, 2015. Print.