[Sundance Review] 'Assassination Nation': The Salem Wikileaks Trials - Bloody Disgusting
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[Sundance Review] ‘Assassination Nation’: The Salem Wikileaks Trials

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Abra, Odessa Young, Hari Nef and Suki Waterhouse in Assassination Nation by Sam Levinson

Assassination Nation opens with a trigger warning montage promising to offend everyone. While not every clip in the montage pays off as awesomely as you hope it will, Assassination Nation has something to say and the message pays off.

The town of Salem is going through a series of hacks where members of the community’s dirty secrets are leaked. Lily (Odessa Young) defends some of the accused while she and her friends become connected to some of the leaks.

Some of the sexual judgments are more horrifying than the violence. Lily’s group of girlfriends make rape jokes and are as sexual as teens really are, and lament the teen sex that is as disappointing as it can be. They call bullshit on guys who claim porn taught them how to fuck, because clearly, they have a lot to learn. Yet the leaks shame sexual activity that’s pretty healthy in private, and puts everyone in Salem on edge for who’s next.

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A principal is called a child pornographer for having a photo of his six-year-old daughter in the bath. I imagine maybe parents in 2018 reconsider documenting baby’s bath time, but I suspect their motivation was loving. It’s only gross if you have pictures of someone else’s kid.

The women are vilified for being as sexual as men are, yet men still want more. Writer/director Sam Levinson calls out the hypocrisy and phony righteousness of townspeople who were just as complicit in supposedly offensive activities. And he must’ve written this before the end of 2017 so it was really prescient. Now it’s a rallying cry for people to rise up against hypocrisy, as if they need more, but here’s another one.

It could escalate quicker but don’t worry. This movie still ends with the town trying to kill each other. At one point Lily is drenched in collateral blood, and the heroines become a four girl vengeance squad. The score has John Carpenter inspirations, both in the synth and the tempo.

Assassination Nation is really a buildup to the violence but the climax does not disappoint. So, I guess the message, besides the social messages of the film, is: wait for it.


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