Dinesh D’Souza could’ve been a decent documentarian, but that potential has been critically harmed by Hillary’s America: The Secret History of the Democratic Party. Judging by this drastic misfire, I’m thinking that maybe the filmmaker’s next project should be a popcorn political thriller loosely inspired by his own far-right, abrasive political opinions.
D’Souza, who is also a best-selling author, takes viewers through reenactments of his sentence spent at a halfway house where he became informed about gangster corruptness. The more he listened, the more often he found similarities afterwards between scam artists and current presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. After large stretches of tell-all about the Democratic party reenacted by inexperienced actors who apparently were caught up in a costume shop clearout explosion, the final third of Hillary’s America features D’Souza’s outspoken pitch (which increasingly sounds more and more like a conspiracy theory steeped in sour grapes) about Hillary and her husband/former US president Bill Clinton in cahoots to pull off the ultimate scam – stealing America.
Whether these claims are true or not is up to the viewer, but the superimposing of these paranoid beliefs into a genre that’s known for its trust and truth is far too jarring for anyone to take seriously. Hillary’s America wants to turn the tables, but its unqualified presentation is as if Derek Waters’ Drunk History all of a sudden had an agenda – both have equal laughs though.
I thought Dinesh D’Souza showed glimmers of darling filmmaking with 2016: Obama’s America. I didn’t agree with everything he proposed, but he presented his case in a way where the viewer could – at least – take it somewhat seriously until its dramatic, manipulative filmmaking bumped credibility aside. Only the latter is repeated in Hillary’s America, which is the cinematic equivalent to that feeling of discomfort as you try and slink away from an awkward conversation in a bar during last call.
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Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie