Ricky's Film Reviews

Bringing you honest reviews of recent releases

Assassination Nation

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After a malicious data hack exposes the secrets of the perpetually American town of Salem, chaos decends and four girls must fight to survive, while coping with the hack themselves.

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Cast

Odessa Young – Lily

Hari Nef – Bex

Suki Waterhouse – Sarah

Abra – Em

Bill Skarsgård – Mark

Joel McHale – Nick

Bella Thorne – Reagan

Maude Apatow – Grace

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Carnage

Assassination Nation is a fantastic kick in the bollocks for the male race. While the movie doesn’t strongly preach feminism as such, it certainly puts girls in the spotlight to show how – when their limits are tested – they can give as good as they get if men piss them off. This is proven at the end of the movie when all hell breaks loose, and with  so much horrifying carnage taking place I was slightly surprised the ground didn’t split open and pump out roaring flames from below. Yes, Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. But what if scorned women bring Hell to the surface?
These four young women just did.

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The plot is centred around two main (and second nature to many of us) elements: our online presence and social media. Something and some things used by people around the globe to store personal files such as photographs and other information. A few movies have done this lately, but the major difference here is a different path is explored – and it poses the question,
What if your deepest secrets were suddenly exposed to everyone?

Assassination Nation plays on this concept by having one singular character hack other people’s computers and release things in to cyberspace for the world to see. And the result is utter chaos when life-shattering information is exposed; girls have their heads smashed in by other girls they know. A potentially homosexual young man gets a violent gang of homophobes hunting him down. A family is torn apart, best friends become worst enemies, sex secrets are revealed.. it is insane once the shit hits the fan. Imagine a mix of The Purge (2013) and Kick-Ass (2010), whereby various characters storm through a city to get revenge on those who have done them wrong, but at the same time the violence spirals out of control. It’s a contradiction of, “go get ‘em girl” and, “you can’t do that!”.

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The beginning of Assassination Nation is dull, I won’t lie. In fact it’s so damn tedious most viewers will probably question why they sat down to indulge in the greasy mix of sweaty, selfie-snapping party girls. Constructed of very brief scenes, the first forty-five minutes or so uses snapshots to describe the social lives of the lead females.
Cue cringeworthy tongues-out poses and pouty faces being pulled as moments are captured to Instagram, etc. in an explosion of beer bottles and bikinis. It’s almost nauseating, sitting there having to observe lives of young adults who care about nothing but how they look and where they announce it.
The whole screen fills with adolescent idiocy; don’t expect a standard tale of friendship and life involving high school sweeties and their siblings or parents. Assassination Nation drills down into the veins of vanity, exposing the insufferable effects wayward females have on society when let loose on fifty bucks. It’s vile. And I almost walked out of the cinema.

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Until something happened to a character which shocked me into staying right where I was..

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So the beginning of the movie is crap, but by god does it pick up towards the end. The action becomes fierce and nasty, and the filming style takes a strange turn too – but in a good way.
When the group of young females suddenly become targets the story turns into a giant game of Cat and Mouse (or any other activity you can think of whereby the prey has to hide whilst on the run from the predator). Some nice camera work here as the home of one of the characters becomes the main focus, with people outside it trying to gain access. The camera slides up the wall and across to a bedroom where one female is standing. It then pans diagonally down to a different room to where another female crosses into another room, and so on. This is all being watched by violent men who are ready to pounce, and is where the action heats up. The viewer is presented with a showdown that switches setting as it spills into the streets. In a word, it’s absolute fucking carnage. But gripping too.

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Once the showdown kicks off and the picture floods with all sorts of people, keep watching. It’s a street fight to end all street fights, and some of what happens will either entertain you or shock you. It gets very nasty, but the moment Bex, Lily, Em and Sarah come to a stop and stand facing a gang of aggressive men is intriguing. Weapons raised (including guns and swords) the expressions on their faces sum everything up. It’s a very powerful moment fired by rage and their stance – if Assassination Nation made it big – would probably go down in movie finale history. Very effective stuff.

How is it possible for a film to start off being tedious crap but finish being a strong statement? Four young women show what happens (or what might happen) when private affairs become public knowledge at the hand of one single computer-hacking person. And perhaps the biggest message here is to watch what you share online in general, not necessarily what you post for others to see. If you’re boasting about something on social media – pipe down. If you’re talking to someone discreetly by text / email – tread very carefully. You never know who could be watching from afar.
Or the consequences.

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Assassination Nation is a welcome relief during an era where most of society are obsessed with ‘posting’. It’s almost a warning for – as well as a mocking of -those naive socialites who desperately cling to the surface of their party worlds, having to announce every single detail via Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Yahoo, etc. But it also delivers a message to more private people too.
This movie oozes the sort of dreaded atmosphere that can only come when there is nowhere to run and hide, and walls are closing in. And it is right here that it excels with a raw and honest brilliance.

 

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This entry was posted on February 16, 2019 by .
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