Reviewing movies can be such a subjective experience. Sure, I’m writing about my feelings towards the film and how it affected me, but I also have to keep in mind that an audience – completely different to myself – may engage with it more.
For instance, here we have Assassination Nation, a directorial sophomoric swing from Sam Levinson. Assassination Nation made me feel really sad. It’s supposed to hold a mirror up to our current apathetic society that views, judges, and shames everything through social media. And while Levinson – who also wrote the film – may hit the nail on the head with a film that is never “pretty”, there’s hardly any light at the end of the tunnel. Assassination Nation is a pummelling experience that gratuitously uses music video-inspired cinematography and dark comedy to make itself look inviting, only to turn around and subject the audience to their own demons.
However, while Assassination Nation may have depressed me, I sincerely believe that younger movie goers – perhaps those who can finally attend R-rated movies without a parent or guardian – will accept Levinson’s movie as a timely wake-up call. They’ll identify with the stress of keeping up with an appearance, and the fear of having their image torn down by a mass, uncontrollable leak of information. They’ll reflect on the isolation and desperation that follows a public breakdown akin to this, but hopefully won’t follow through by copying how these events finish in gruesome fashions. Levinson has written characters that I don’t feel are likeable, endearing, or the slightest bit convincing, but maybe the access point is through how these characters shamelessly treat tragedies as entertainment.
I’m finding Assassination Nation particularly difficult to write about; it’s taken me a while to wrap my head around it and figure out how to approach discussing it. It’s a flick that deprived me of enjoyment, but my goal here is to express that the movie does have the power – deep down somewhere behind its flashy disguise – to persuade someone to think differently and develop more empathy.
This social satire didn’t speak to me, but it will for somebody.
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Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie