Karen: Propaganda, pure and stupid.
Coke Daniel's Karen; A movie based off of an internet created meme which origins are from over-privileged and often angry white women with no concept of how the world works that use their white privilege against people of color by often calling the police, which has lead to dangerous situations that have put people's lives at risk. When news of this movie coming out, it got the typical response that you would expect for this movie.
People questioned the merit of releasing a movie that was called 'A Jordan Peele rip off', a 'cash grab of a meme' and 'insulting to POC'. Personally, I saw the trailer for this and thought two things.
This is really on the nose for all the Karen stereotypes.
This movie is going to suck hard.
Director and writer Coke Daniels tried to defend the film by saying "It's a feel-good film". This is what people thought of his defense of the film.
The 2021 film Karen is not a feel-good movie as Daniels describes it. It is not an enjoyable film nor is it one that can be considered average. This is not even a movie as it is nothing more than a piece of propagandist garbage with a clear intent.
The Story and Writing
The story would follow Malik (Cory Hardrict) and Imani (Jasmine Burke), a young black couple who moves into a white neighborhood, happy with the prospect of home ownership. They are soon greeted by the titular character Karen (Taryn Manning) who brings unease into their lives. Over the course of the film, tensions and conflict rises between the Malik/Imani and Karen and the police before it comes to a lackluster climax.
The writing in this movie is garbage. I mentioned previously that this movie was 'propagandist' and it easily shows. The film immediately starts off with the titular Karen (Taryn Manning) throwing water and scrubbing away Black Lives Matter written in chalk. The film is not subtle in the slightest. This introduction of the film is the equivalent of someone hitting you in the face with a hammer that is wrapped in political slogans. This movie's writing is a literal game of stereotype bingo; We see Karen installing security cameras the moment Imani and Malik move in, immediately accusing Malik of 'casing the joint' when he points out all of the cameras, goes over to two black guys in a restaurant to tell them to be quiet before going to the manager to have them removed and this is literally all within the FIRST TEN MINUTES OF THE FILM. There are also a lot of plot contrivances that only exist to push the plot forward that make the film almost impossible to watch.
The characters in this movie are not characters, as they are cartoonish depictions of people. Malik and Imani are the 'woke, successful black people', Karen is a collection of every Karen/racist stereotype imaginable, Officer Wind (Roger Dorman) is a racist cop and the side characters are mostly forgettable. None of these characters can be considered realistic nor are they fleshed out into anything believable. The worst of these characters would be Karen, who literally coughs when she hears the phrase 'Black Lives Matter'. While the actors do an alright job depicting these characters, they are not given much to work off of and they cannot do much to save this film.
The cinematography is average at best. The principal cinematography was done by Anthony J. Rickert-Epstein, who prior to this worked on a lot of low budget projects. While there are no jarring cuts and the focus of the scene is always kept in frame, there is nothing to make this film stand out in any way imaginable. The most creative thing was sadly the ending credits, which while eye capturing, did not fit the overall tone of the film.
Coke Daniel's Karen is not a film. It should not be considered anything close to film. This is propaganda, pure and simple. The story is cobbled together of every stereotype imaginable with little to no pay off, the characters are cartoonish cut outs and there is no entertainment value to be gotten from this film. This 'movie' is a more of a tribute to the over the top propaganda films that stem from the 1930s. However, the difference between those movies and this one is at least the movies from the 30s were 'so bad, it's good'. This movie is ninety minutes of pure stupidity, racism, stereotypes and propagandist pandering.
Karen is available to watch on Amazon Prime Video, Google Play Store, Vudu, Apple TV, YouTube and DVD/Blu-Ray.