Just call David Ayer Mr. Brightside.
Netflix’s Bright reteams the director with actor Will Smith, who worked together last year on Suicide Squad. Smith plays Daryl Ward, a Los Angeles police officer who teams up with Nick Jakoby (Joel Edgerton), a rookie Orc officer, in a world of both human and mythical creatures. The movie, out Friday, also stars Ike Barinholtz, Lucy Fry, Noomi Rapace and Édgar Ramírez. In spite of its $90 million budget and massive marketing campaign, the future of Bright looks dark.
The Wrap’s Todd Gilchrist called Bright “astoundingly bad in every way,” while Indiewire’s David Ehrlich slammed the crime movie as “profoundly awful,” “dull” and “painfully derivative.”
Overnight, Ayer retweeted a link to Ehrlich’s critique. “This is going on my fridge,” he wrote. “Highest compliment is a strong reaction either way. This is a f–king epic review. It’s a big fun movie. You can sure string words together Mr. Erlich. I’d love to read any script you’ve written.”
Ehrlich replied on Twitter, calling Ayer a “good man.” Though he didn’t care for Bright, he promised, “I’ll be waiting with fresh eyes for whatever comes next.” Ayer replied, “I really appreciate that. Every movie is a labor of love for me. I’ve never chased the audience, and I know my work can be polarizing. I’ve lived a crazy love and I guess my movies reflect that.”
To be fair, not all reviews have been bad.
“Bright is the best Netflix original movie to date, and it absolutely deserves to be seen on the big screen, though don’t let that stop you from watching it home, as End of Watch director David Ayer’s welcome return to the cop-movie genre—following a disastrous wrong turn into Suicide Squad territory, of which we will say no more—fills an intense, grown-up movie niche that Hollywood once did so well, but has since replaced with formula-driven product,” Variety‘s Peter Debruge wrote. And with its “relatively tight (by Netflix standards) 117-minute running time,” Debruge wrote, the movie “doesn’t overstay its welcome, but leaves you wanting more.”
Netflix’s Bright is available to stream Friday (in Ultra HD 4K and HDR).