There's two types of people in this world. People who have come to terms with privacy being dead...and the old people who are trying to fight it.
Assassination Nation (2018)
This is the kind of film that reminds me of why I love movies so much. Yesterday I had the option of seeing Night School or this one. I basically flipped a coin and it came up tails. Thank the heavens it did and I got to see Assassination Nation. It shocked me in every way. It reminded me of and made me feel the same kind of emotions I felt when I first watched Last House on the Left. It's a film about the dehumanization of 4 young girls. In LHOTL, it was four deranged psychotics who tortured, raped and then killed two young girls and left their bodies to rot in the deep woods. This has similar thoughts except the forest is replaced with suburbia.
I will warn you, for those of you reading this, this will be ripe with spoilers. So tread carefully if you do plan on seeing the film.
This is without a doubt, one of the most disturbing films I've ever seen and it scared me more than any film has since perhaps the Ring in 2002. It's a shame no one is seeing this film at the theatres and perhaps the problem is it is listed as an action comedy. A comedy? Are you kidding me? There is nothing funny about this film and it should be listed as a horror. In fact, it took third place in the people's choice award for the Midnight Madness at TIFF in 2018. This is horrific and it left me shaking even after leaving the theatre. It's not a "dark and stormy night" kind of film and it's not masked undead killers coming after you with a kitchen knife. What makes this scary is that this is a true reflection of the world we are all a part of and what happened in this movie could happen to any one of us.
So what makes this film so powerful? Let's start with Brock Turner. Then let's mention the Dark Knight and then the Purge and Mean Girls and Heathers.
When a woman claims she has been raped or violated sexually, we make them come up with oodles of proof to corroberate her claim. In Brock Turner's case, we felt sorry for him because he wouldn't get to enjoy his Cheerios in prison. "Boys will be boys." Poor Brock Turner might not have a shot at a real life because poor Brock Turner didn't really rape someone, he just violated her while she was unconscious. In Assassination Nation, when a hacker in the city of Salem exposes everyone's private text messages and photos and videos and anything else out there in cyber-space, the town "loses it's mind". When it comes out that one of the young girls, Lily, MIGHT have been having an affair with a married man, one whom she babysat for, the town, including her parents, blame her. The ostracize her, she is kicked out of her own home, she is basically branded with a Scarlet Letter. Not once is the married man frowned upon. Not once does someone speak ill of the 42 year old married father with two children.
When the entire town is then hacked, people don't want to own up to their transgressions, they simply want to destroy the one who exposed them. The righteous hypocrites in small town America can't accept that they are flawed and impure. Instead they brand the young women (who are accused of being the hacker) as being home-wreckers and criminals and promiscuous troglodytes.
When I think about every site I've ever clicked on, every site I've ever ordered from, every movie I've ever watched on my phone or my PC, as innocent as it all might seem, if my personal private information was hacked and exposed, how would I be viewed? There's a scene of such monumental power in this film and it's when the principal's phone gets hacked, he gets excoriated by the town's folk for being a child molester because he has naked photo's of his 4 year old daughter on his phone. When Lily defends him to her parents saying, "Mom you have a naked photo of me when I was two sitting on the fireplace mantle, does that make you a child molester as well?"
It's so easy to have things misconstrued but what makes it worse is this is none of anyone else's business. This is people's privacy that is being hacked and exposed. Think about your personal life,think about the things you do when no one else is watching. Now imagine that being exposed for the whole world to see. It's scary.
David S. Goyer is one of about 25 producers on the film. He also wrote Batman Begins and The Dark Knight. All three films share similar themes and ideas. Both have "villains" who just want to watch the world burn. Both subscribe to the theory that injecting a little anarchy into the world is what we all need. And as the Joker says in TDK:
"You see, their morals, their code, it's a bad joke. Dropped at the first sign of trouble. They're only as good as the world allows them to be. I'll show you. When the chips are down, these... these civilized people, they'll eat each other. See, I'm not a monster. I'm just ahead of the curve."
Those words are apropos for that movie for this movie and probably for life in general. When anarchy is introduced into this film and to the people who are in it, all hell breaks loose. And when you find out who is actually responsible for the hacks and why the person did it, they respond by saying, "I wanted to get some LOL's" You have a person willing to destroy lives just so they can get a few kicks.
Assassination Nation is relevant, it's horrific, it's ahead of the curve and it is scary as hell. It left me shaking and it left me with a myriad of thoughts and troubles racing through my head. It's expertly written, beautifully acted and directed with style and flair by Sam Levinson. The four young actresses all give knockout performances, each one of them bring power to their characters. Bella Thorne and Bill Skaarsgard show up to give us some recognizable faces but it's Odessa Young who walks away with the best performance. Look for her in the future. I can't recommend this film enough. Like Mandy, it's not for everyone, but for those who let it all in, it might be a film that changes your life.
There are shades of The Purge, Last House on the Left, Mean Girls, Heathers, Pump Up the Volume and the Dark Knight in this film. It borrows some of the ideas and expounds on them, leaving me with a film that gets a perfect 10 out of 10 from me.
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