Title: Assassination Nation
Director: Sam Levinson
Starring: Odessa Young, Suki Waterhouse, Hari Nef
Runtime: 1 hr 47 mins
What It Is: Lily and the whole town of Salem are victims of a cyber leak. Embarrassment leads to anger which leads to violence and revenge, but Lily and her gang stay #woke and refuse to lose themselves to some serious defamation of character.
What We Think: In the age of social commentary cinema, this film shows up guns blazing. For those of us post-high school, it’s a little hard to get into at first. The trigger warning, in the beginning, can be appreciated, but it definitely doesn’t prepare one from the occasional cringe at the dialogue and actions of the characters. However, that’s exactly what this film aims to do. Every thought throughout the film that slut-shames or minimizes the real-life experiences of these fictional characters, is the film exposing our socially conditioned biased beliefs. In what world is any of us truly pious and why do we demand others to follow suit? This film is action-packed, bloody and violent, and worth every uncomfortable shift in your seat. It’s The Purge one, two, three, and four on social media steroids.
This film is heavily character driven as the dynamic between individuals thrust us into the action even though the leak kickstarts it. Even though the main characters of the film are comprised of a group of friends, it focuses mainly on Lily’s rationale and Bex’s experiences as a transgender girl. For actress Abra’s debut and the amazingness that is Suki Waterhouse, their characters in this film were pretty…blah! And for such a character heavy, social commentary fueled film, Abra’s character Em seemed to be thrown in there just to give the cast some color. They were given guilty by association roles that didn’t hinder but also didn’t help to move the film along.
This is one of those ‘what if’ films. What if a town or a city was rocked to its core after a cyber leak exposed history searches, text messages, and privately shared media? Would our embarrassment drive us mad enough to exact revenge on the exposed or the exposer? Who’s to say. Nonetheless, it’s a great film that uses our uncomfortableness and complacency against us.
Our Grade: B+, The same way we now cringe at hearing 16-year-old Ariel telling King Triton she loves some 20-something human prince…this film at first creates an avenue to judge the actions of teenagers. When most of us have already gotten past that exploration boundary testing stage, we forgot how easily manipulated one can be by social media. But the film doesn’t stop there. It grabs you by the collar and reels you back in because surprise the adults are just as “messed up”. And maybe we’ll all finally realize that clearing our browsing history, won’t save us in the end.