DIRECTOR: Sam Levinson
WRITER: Sam Levinson
STARRING: Odessa Young, Suki Waterhouse, Hari Nef, Abra, Anika Noni Rose, Colman Domingo, Maude Apatow, Joel McHale, Bella Thorne, Cody Christian
RELEASE DATE: September 21, 2018
“High school senior Lily and her group of friends live in a haze of texts, posts, selfies and chats just like the rest of the world. So, when an anonymous hacker starts posting details from the private lives of everyone in their small town, the result is absolute madness leaving Lily and her friends questioning whether they’ll live through the night.”
Essentially, the whole reason why I even heard about this film in the first place was because Jennifer Morrison, someone who I admire endlessly, was mildly involved with it. She had been promoting the hell out of it on social media prior to its release (including attending the Los Angeles premiere on September 12th) and for good reason! From just solely watching the trailer, I genuinely couldn’t tell you what the film was about. Yet, that certainly didn’t stop me from wanting to go out there and support a film that was said to create a massive female-positive atmosphere. Not only did Assassination Nation deliver the female badassery (?) I so badly craved, but it also offers such a unique and worthwhile change of pace from every other film I’ve seen in recent months.
Assassination Nation left me blindsided and with burning whiplash. How I’ve been painting it to others is that it’s Heathers meets Kill Bill, with an unexpected yet enthralling The Purge inspired twist; although somewhat strange, that bizarre illustration depicts the tone of the film seamlessly. This was my introduction to Sam Levinson’s work and I can’t say I’m disappointed. The directing methodology and cinematic choices create an undeniably techno, kinetically thrilling ride that barely allows enough time to catch your breath. The slick exploitation is a direct contrast to the film’s often horrific underlying layers, fabricating a refreshing style. It’s also accompanied by one of the coolest, most pop-culture-relevant soundtracks that emits some animated vibrations I surely did not expect.
The film presents a terrifying insight into the modern-day dystopia we reside in, including some unapologetically candid and chaotic characters that you can’t help but root for throughout the length of the narrative. I resonated with Lily and her girl-gang more than I would probably like to admit but I think that, in part, that’s the most gratifying detail. This film takes present day patriarchy by the balls and smothers it with the female revolution society needs.
Truth be told, I’m not sure what I was more horrified about as I was exiting the theater: The idea that these effectively exaggerated resolutions to patriarchal issues mirror contemporary America perfectly or that I’d have to go home and face my newfound horror towards the internet and all things social media. Sexism, misogyny, slut shaming, masculinity insecurities/toxic masculinity, and female scapegoating are just a few of the dozens of topics covered in the film’s hour and 50 minute long run. If that isn’t crucial enough, Assassination Nation also doesn’t hold back when it comes to touching up on issues regarding the LGBTQIA community, which other medias are too restrained to even mention, let alone focus entire storylines and main characters around.
Due to the topics Assassination Nation handles, it’s a film that’s hard to watch and even harder to digest. It’s a film that’s not weary of the message it’s so bitterly trying to convey; the type of film that, although dreadfully haunting, you can’t help but devour entirely – frame by frame, dialogue by dialogue. I haven’t stopped thinking about it since the minute the credits rolled onto the screen, and I know you won’t either. Catch Assassination Nation in theaters today!