Assassination Nation Reviews

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½ February 15, 2019
2.5 stars is generous.
February 13, 2019
Hilarious, disturbing, and unexpectedly intelligent (if you don't get too triggered)

Centred around a quartet of unapologetically shallow teen girls more concerned with getting likes on Instagram than decent grades, and culminating in an orgy of gender-demarcated violence, Assassination Nation seems to set out to try to offend everyone - from the social justice warriors on the left to the second amendment fetishisers on the right, from Millennial snowflakes who have never known life without social media to Baby boomers who just can't get their head around why going viral is so important. And pretty much everyone in between. The satirical ire of writer/director Sam Levinson's second feature, however, is aimed more specifically at those who tend to see the proclivities of sexually "aggressive" (i.e., sexually confident) young women through misogyny-tinted glasses as the ruination of society (the type of insecure males who believe the term "toxic masculinity" is an oxymoron). Starting out as a commentary on a society becoming ever more defined by online hysteria and the erosion of traditional concepts of privacy, the film charts a course from Heathers and Mean Girls to The Purge by way of The Second Civil War and Blackhat. True, it does run out of steam in its third act, and, overall, it tries to take on too many issues. Nevertheless, this is perceptive stuff, with a solid central socio-political thesis and a savagely satirical narrative.

The film works primarily by way of exaggeration, as with so much great Juvenalian satire. Levinson is not positing the story as a possible real-world scenario. This isn't social realism. Instead, he is accentuating the damage such a thing could do to highlight our own society's very real obsession with social media and the concomitant importance of digital privacy. He sets the tone immediately. The opening shot shows a camera moving along a suburban street, passing by idyllic white picket fences, Blue Velvet-style, with people performing mundane tasks such as emptying the trash and watering the lawn. Except everyone is wearing a mask of some kind. A voice-over then informs us that this is a story about how Salem "lost its motherf***ing mind."

How the film deal with the male gaze is especially interesting. An early shot shows the four girls walking into school in slow motion as the camera starts at their feet and slowly pans up their bare legs before moving around behind them. Towards the end of the film, the exact same shot is repeated, but in this instance, the girls are effectively going to war, and the male gaze is no longer an issue, something the film draws to the audience's attention by replicating the form of the earlier shot - in short, the male gaze is reproduced so as to satirise and ridicule it.

Another aesthetically interesting scene occurs after the data dump, but prior to people turning on one another, when a girl learns her best friend has been mocking her behind her back. The scene starts out normal enough, but soon the camera turns upside-down and we see the girl standing against an unrealistically large American flag, indicating that something within the social fabric has fundamentally changed. Indeed, speaking of the American flag, it's a recurring motif, but we rarely see it without a gun nearby, usually in the same shot. Make of that what you will.

One of the film's strengths, but also one of its weaknesses, is the sheer volume of issues with which it engages; misogyny, feminism, fempowerment, social media, sexual assault, #MeToo, bullying, gun culture, toxic masculinity, the male gaze, racism, gang mentality, digital privacy, desensitisation, mansplaining. The film especially addresses the myriad ways that young girls are represented on social media, deconstructing and satirising the inherently misogynistic assumptions that underpin many of our attitudes to online behaviour.

Unfortunately, because the film tries to deal with so much, many of the issues are raised only to be touched on once or twice, and then dropped. Aside from that, the last act essentially turns into The Purge, wherein the girls turn into the leaders of a righteous avenging vigilante group facing off against the intolerance born of right-wing jingoism, a conflict drawn primarily along gender lines, although not exclusively. It's a disappointingly simplistic denouement given the complexity and thematic depth of the preceding narrative.

Nevertheless, depicting a cultural anxiety that is uniquely contemporary, Assassination Nation is an unexpectedly smart film examining weighty topics of great importance to the socio-political moment. While it is immensely strong in its depiction of teenage gender politics, gun culture, online behaviour etc, it falters when it comes to the dynamics of the narrative, setting up several strands which never pay off, and ending a little weakly. Nevertheless, the questions it raises are important ones, and they are very well asked.
½ February 13, 2019
For an exploitation revenge fantasy (about sexploitation, at that) set in New Orleans, with a credit sequence set to a traditional NoLa marching band, and motivated by timely feminist themes, the filmmakers---written and directed by a dude, of course---seem to have no concept of the meaning of "intersectionality." The movie is fueled by a typical white anxiety about the imminent dangers of technology, a moral squeamishness about sex workers, a treatment of toxic masculinity that is so cartoonishly evil, all men by comparison seem excusable. Still, the execution may be faulty, but the aim here has its heart in the right place, and its done with such exuberant energy and style that even if the ethics are murky, they at least feel alive.
February 12, 2019
I fucking LOVED this movie!!! One of the most relevant, relatable, powerful films I have ever seen. 10/10, 5 stars, two thumbs up!! Just don‚(TM)t show your children until they‚(TM)re like 17 (if they‚(TM)re ready) because It deals with serious content, but there are soo many messages in this movie!! I applaud the writers, directors, actors and everyone that had a part in the making of this movie. Job well done guys!! ū'?ū? 1/2
February 2, 2019
Once the point is made it flattens out.
February 1, 2019
A movie which elevated relevant issues, experiences, and problems. The filming, acting, and script are exceptional in this film. Prepare to be uncomfortable. Prepare to be surprised. Prepare to witness an i
January 31, 2019
Too stylish for its own good
½ January 29, 2019
Loved this movie. Great plot, great performances and a really good sound track. Refreshingly different and engrossing. More please from this Director
½ January 22, 2019
The buildup is poor, the characters cartoonishly shallow, the direction is poor. Looks like the director focused only on style.
January 22, 2019
i have seen this film twice now. i loved it the first time, but i didn't fully appreciate it until watching it again. this film is beautiful. it is well acted with excellent performances across the cast, particularly so from the four protagonists. but the best part of the film for me was it's incredibly stylish visuals. the film addresses many social themes and gives an incredibly convincing and deeply thought-provoking portrayal of what it is like to be a teenage girl in the modern age. with a well balanced mix of violence and compelling storytelling, assassination nation is a thrilling and bewitching film that i strongly recommend watching.
January 21, 2019
A weird, definitely different, and socially motivated ride.

High school senior Lily and her group of friends live in a haze of texts, posts, selfies and chats just like the rest of the world. So, when an anonymous hacker starts posting details from the private lives of everyone in their small town, the result is absolute madness leaving Lily and her friends questioning whether they'll live through the night.

So the trailers to this film absolutely fascinated me. I thought they were interesting, weird, and really captivating. I thought, maybe this film will stretch some boundaries in a good way? Maybe shed some light on some social issues but when I actually watched this film, it wasn't really any of that. In fact, it was a pretty big disappointment. Oh well.

Alright, one thing I didn't love about this film was the characters, or even the actors for that matter. It's not to say the acting was bad, because it wasn't - but it wasn't great at all. I felt like the performances were underwhelming, almost forced at times. The characters had no depth to them, nor did we care about any of them. So as a result, neither aspects are strong and neither make the movie any better.

This is a weird, different kind of movie. It almost feels experimental in a sorts. However, I guess I never really understood the purpose to this film. I felt like they were trying to touch on a bunch of subjects but never really narrowed their view toward one. The film essentially built toward some grand, bad-ass finale but fell short and never really built toward anything.

In the end, "Assassination Nation" was an okay film. It had some interesting concepts in it, but it never really came together.
Super Reviewer
½ January 20, 2019
Bit of an odd one, good odd. The sort of thing that'd usually earn all of its points out of pure catharsis, but is to confronting to be any way actually cathartic, and hits the message over and over again instead, which normally I hate, but Assassination Nation works because of the hate. It's a very hateful movie, with just a sliver of what you might have expected it would be like based on the trailer right at the very end, but otherwise, grim.

In a good way though. A way that works, makes you think, but still has all #TheAesthetic‚Ę you can shake a stick at, it just makes you feel bad for shaking that stick. Do you like The Purge but feel that the mirror it holds up is too general? Wanna feel bad about feeling good? Give Assassination Nation a crack.
½ January 10, 2019
Really ixed feelings about this movie : the first act is really a perfect set up without anything juste thrown at the audience but really subtally played as in we understand what's going on without a lousy narration. But the gory violence of the second act are well orchestred and with a really good cinematography but I still can't get to decide if the message is blurred out by the violence or put in plane sight. Also, I still can't decide on one interpretation of this film (which is kind of a problem considering that this movie seems to shout to face of the audience that it needs to tell something).
½ January 10, 2019
Half a star for the compelling title. Simply awful viewing. As bargain bucket as any 'movie' could possibly be. Save your money or buy a packet of chips instead.
January 9, 2019
Social Media meltdown with a dash of cultural marxism.
January 5, 2019
Movie was in your face. I real hey you with a penis stop your crap. The writer of the movie must be a fan of the "Scum Manifesto" if you have not read please, do. I felt there could have been more violence. The movie shows how stupid parents can be. Your children are smoking and screwing each other but the principal cannot look at porn? Anyone remember the Puerto Rican parade in New York back in the early 200's? This movie back to that day that men all of sudden wanted to rape women in groups.
January 4, 2019
Very interesting story, will watching it definitely using boxxy software, nice free app on my PC.
½ January 4, 2019
If you like/care about writing, acting and direction you wont like this steaming pile. The sleek cinematography isnt enough to justify a watch.
January 1, 2019
I just thought it was a pretty decent representation of how utterly stupid people are these days. Yes, it was over the top and exaggerated, but after all, it's a movie, meant to entertain.
½ December 22, 2018
A movie that believes it's smarter than it really is. They set out to provoke emotion and fail at every turn. Then, as if it wasn't bad enough, all the action was absolutely terrible.
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