Assassination Nation (2018)

Sam Levinson directs Odessa Young, Hari Nef and Suki Waterhouse in this violent high school satire where the town of Salem have their digital histories hacked and released to the world, revealing secrets that destroy lives and whipping up a hysteria that incites a lynch mob. 

5 minutes in: Buzzwords bombard us, style overwhelms, this is trying way too hard.

25 minutes in: “Probably jacks off to Fight Club in his mom’s basement like every night.” The pot calls the kettle black.

35 minutes in: Among all the hubris we have had two emotionally complex moments following a one night stand and a decent man that ring true. 

45 minutes in: OK… so its overblown but prescient. A kinda Heathers meets A Clockwork Orange. It empowers young women and skewers male attitudes… it is not a product aimed at me but I’m going to cut its try hard aspects a break and focus on the visual daring of new young female filmmaker. It looks great and is taking scattershot sideswipes at a lot of big, current issues. That should be lauded.

55 minutes in: Ultraviolence. The Stars and Stripes frame a wronged woman. A cheerleader. A baseball bat. Vengeance. She is treated like a hero by her classmates. She is treated like a hero by the director. She is treated like a hero by us. Those involved aren’t even any of the main characters. Not that the lead four girls have been that fantastic acting-wise. But…

75 minutes in: Although it is straining not to be to exploitative, this is working best as an exploitation flick. The visual sensibility is striking now it has settled, we are in sustained sequence of suspense that is masterfully filmed. So it is The Purge for Woke Girls. An intersectional Straw Dogs. A Instagram The Crucible. I can dig it. I’m down with the kids.

95 minutes in: It is getting a bit stretched out and scrappy again but it has won me over… Girls and gun. Reality has left the building. Not sure about the ultimate message. Can you churn a fuckton of push button modern ills then solve them with a shootout? But it has won me over. Can’t wait to catch this exciting new voice’s next film. Must make a note of her name…

105 minutes in: “Directed by Sam Levinson” Sam… Sam?… She’s chosen a gender neutral name. I wonder if she is related to Barry… Quick Goo… SAM LEVINSON IS A 40 SOMETHING WHITE MAN! THE GODDAMN PATRIARCHY! I don’t need no famous director’s nepotistic, dick driven spawn to tell me how tough teenage girls in revealing costumes have it. I can come up with that fantasy myself. I’m almost a 40 something white man. Wasn’t there a Liam Neeson film he could direct instead? Ugh… I feel exploited. Hoodwinked! Shenanigans!!!

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