Assassination Nation and all the images you see in this review are owned by NEON
Directed by Sam Levinson
Wow, people are really liking this, aren’t they? Unlike Mandy or The Predators, I actually did catch a trailer for this at some point so I knew it was something like The Purge but also about divulging personal information, so basically that episode of The Simpsons where the kids reveal all their parents secrets, only with a MUCH darker ending. Still, The Purge films are a pretty high bar to reach even if NEON has a pretty solid track record with their movies. Can this latest effort from a much smaller studio hope to compete with the franchise that got to the party way earlier and with a much bigger studio behind it? Let’s find out!!
Lilly, Sarah, Bex, and Em (Odessa Young, Suki Waterhouse, Hari Nef, and Abra) are four teenage girls in the town of Salem; living out there days being the baddest crew in school who appreciate the little things in life; such as gossip, boys, and tearing down the patriarchy! One day a hacker starts leaking personal information of Salem’s citizens; starting with the corrupt mayor, but then moving on to the kind principal and then eventually everyone else. The secrets being revealed are causing some… stress you could say with some people opting to wear masks, others starting violent militias, and everyone just going all in on showing the worst sides of themselves. Homophobia, transphobia, racism, misogyny, all of the above and more, just starts running rampant once the façade has been stripped away by the leaked data. One of the more prominent victims turns out to be Lilly who has her own secrets she was trying to hide and makes her a pariah to basically everyone except her friends who are standing with her, at least for now. What more could be revealed that could make the situation even worse than it is? Just how far will these people go to inflict pain on others for dubiously justifiable reasons as well as to cover up what secrets they may have themselves? Is it just me, or do things seem REALLY tense lately!?
The Birth of a Nation and all the images you see in this review are owned by Fox Searchlight Pictures
Directed by Nate Parker
To tell you the truth, I was not looking forward to seeing this and was up until the last minute figuring out if I wanted to take a pass on this considering the controversy surrounding the filmmaker’s past deeds. Ultimately, I am a film critic and decided that I might as well have an informed opinion on something rather than avoiding the topic. Not to say that someone choosing not to see this is making the wrong choice as it’s not anyone’s place to tell anyone else what to go see at the theater (I avoided that last Dinesh D’Souza film like the plague despite it sticking around for an embarrassingly long time at one of the theaters I frequent), rather I’m just letting you know what my reason was for deciding to review this film. Does it manage to be a great film even with the controversies surrounding it, or will this be so bad that we can easily dismiss the film and its director? Let’s find out!!
The movie is about the life of Nat Turner (Nate Parker who also writes, directs, and produces) who famously led a slave rebellion in 1831 that killed a bunch of slave owners before… well go read the Wikipedia page or watch the movie to find out what happened. But what about his life BEFORE killing white people? What drove the man to commit such acts of violence, especially considering how deeply religious he was? After all, wasn’t one of the commandments THOUGH SHALL NOT KILL? Well we get those answers as the rebellion itself is the climax to a character study of one man who faced indignity after indignity throughout his entire life and even saw it first hand when his master (Armie Hammer) had him go around to other plantations to preach the word of God to those slaves to keep them nice and complacent rather than rebellious and stabby. What other challenges did Nat have to face before turning to the sword? Well, you’ll just have to see the movie to find out!