Out of everyone in Hollywood, I least expected comedian Ike Barinholtz (The Mindy Project, Neighbours 2: Sorority Rising, Blockers) to write and direct an impassionately-charged social satire that hilariously addresses today’s disturbing political divide.
Barinholtz, best known for scene-stealing in mainstream comedies, also stars in his directorial feature debut as Chris, an outspoken (and obsessive) self-proclaimed political aficionado who has a forgiving wife (Tiffany Haddish) and an adorable daughter (Priah Ferguson). Chris avidly hangs onto the pulse of current affairs which includes the implementation of “the oath”, a national declaration established by the US government demanding citizens to prove their solidarity by collectively (and literally) signing their life away. While most of the population believes its a wise way to show patriotism, other people (including Chris) have held out and resisted against the general pressure from the tense climate. But as Chris anticipates and endures a large family Thanksgiving, he feels his integrity being pulled through the wringer.
Barinholtz’s cathartic satire will cut close to home for many viewers, but this is the vessel in which he connects with his audience. Barinholtz follows through by using a confrontational brand of humourous honesty to whistleblow arrogance in awkward situations. However, even though we’re supposed to side with Chris, the writer/director also addresses how critical awareness can quickly spin into a detrimental neurosis.
Barinholtz eventually turns The Oath into a very hostile flick using invasion thriller tropes and brutal violence. While this turn in tone is not as potent or intelligent as the film’s more subtle material, the audience won’t deny how effective and bleakly amusing The Oath is.
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Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie