When people’s computer and phone records are hacked in the suburb of Salem the town develops a mob mentality and turns its focus on four friends who must survive the results of the hack and the ire of the town.
I’ll start by blurting out the fact that I left this preview screening thinking this is easily one of the worst films I’ve seen this year. But what was really energising about it was the fact that I then was able to discuss it at length with four other cinema goers (two I know and two I do not) outside the cinema. Every one of us with a very different view from good, to indifferent, to awful. And if there is anything that art should do, it is to prompt discussion.
Written and directed by Sam Levinson Assassination Nation is a film with some very interesting messages on current social and political issues, filled with artistic flair and wrapped in a mainstream “Purge” like cover. It starts well, literally telling you that you will be appalled at its content, features some fantastic camera work and scenes but is frankly unwatchable at times!
The film it most reminded me of is Harmony Korine’s Spring Breakers. An art film wrapped in a teen cover that is both glossy and seedy and manages to have a strong message whilst being terrible. My fellow cinema goer in the post film chat absolutely nailed it by pointing out the similarities to Pump up the Volume. A film where a teenager airs people’s personal lives in public causing uproar. I love Pump up the Volume. Am I just too old to get this 21st Century story with Twitter, Insta and sexting?
Perhaps the younger generation will be drawn to the glossy packaging and violent imagery and take in the messages about being careful about what you share online, female empowerment, LGBQT rights and puritanical politics. Or perhaps they will just laugh at someone getting shot at point blank range with a shotgun like someone in our screening?
It’s still one of the worst films I’ve seen this year!