Tracker Pixel for Entry

Deadly Clicks in Levinson’s “Assassination Nation”

by Greg Carlson | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | Cinema | September 26th, 2018

Slipping and sliding through its blood-soaked climax, “Assassination Nation” attempts to reconcile the lurid and exploitative embrace of its milieu with an in-your-face polemic on the modern hellscape of rape culture and toxic masculinity. As channeled through the hypersexualized noise of social media (where everyone can be a “star” or cultivate a personal “brand”) as well as the private-until-they’re-not exchanges of person-to-person text messages, writer-director Sam Levinson’s provocative, profanity-laced roller coaster is an acquired taste.

Writing in “The New York Times,” Bruce Fretts described the trailer for “Nation” as “the demon spawn of ‘Heathers’ and ‘The Purge,’” a perfect logline nailing the film’s penchant for quasi-teenspeak among its central quartet of high school hipsters and the allegorical but blunted home invasion bullet festival that dominates the late stages. Odessa Young is Lily Colson, the central protagonist among a wolfpack of frustratingly underdeveloped characters deserving of much more than what’s provided by Levinson to play (more Hari Nef, please).

Coincidentally, the fellow Sundance premiere “Eighth Grade” shares several core thematic concerns questioning the effects of the less savory aspects of internet culture on young people (particularly young women). Even though the two movies could not be more dissimilar in terms of tone and genre, their shared moment in time points toward the inevitability of even more stories utilizing the subject of the digital realm to ask questions about the ways in which we have been, and are being, transformed by living online. Familiar subjects, from cyberbullying to identity construction, are here. Levinson’s use of doxxing as a plot vehicle is also not new, but turns out to be the filmmaker’s most effective device.

Can a movie that literally wears its male gaze on its sleeve (along with a number of other trigger warnings boldly stated in Godardian titles of red, white, and blue) offer a convincing message of empowerment? Are feminism and screen exploitation mutually exclusive, particularly if filtered through a masculinist lens? Katie Walsh’s “Los Angeles Times” review takes the position that “Nation” fails, citing red flags like the way the cinematography establishes a “leering gaze directed at the girls’ nubile bods, [that takes] much delight in wringing every sexy moment out of attacking young women, shooting scenes of violence that are gratuitously pornographic.” Unsparingly, Walsh also rips Levinson (“Dude really tried to mansplain the virgin/whore paradigm”) and blasts the film’s attempt to decry sexual objectification while objectifying.

It might be a stretch to imagine that “Assassination Nation” will enjoy the same kind of cult longevity as the smarter, funnier, and more subversive “Heathers” a quarter century or more down the road. But Sarah Kurchak wisely reminds readers in her honest, mixed “Consequence of Sound” review that different generations and demographics naturally view texts through the standpoints of unique levels of age and experience. She cites, for example, how the forgettable and critically dismissed “Jawbreaker” “was embraced by a younger audience... hungry for something sloppy, weird, and improper that we could grapple with on our own messy and increasingly complex terms.” Maybe the kids catching “Assassination Nation” today will experience a similar reaction.

Recently in:

COVID-19, or Coronavirus, has started to make its rounds in the United States. As of Tuesday, Mar. 17, three residents in North Dakota, 11 in South Dakota, and over 60 in Minnesota have been confirmed to have the disease. The…

by Sonja ThompsonDebra Ruh is the CEO and Founder of Ruh Global IMPACT, a consulting firm that strives to help clients amplify their impact and become disability inclusion leaders. She also serves as the Chair of the United…

Best Bets

Ladies Ag Night

by HPR Staff

Thursday, March 19, 4:30- 8 pm1609 19th Ave N, FargoCass County Soil Conservation District is hosting their annual Ladies’ Ag Night supper event. This event has a goal of bringing together multiple generations of women involved…

by Sofia Makarova and Massimo Sassi The global pandemic is an incredibly challenging time for many. Nearlyone in every three Americans’ jobs have been affected, whether a temporary layoff, a permanent job loss, or a reduction in…

Democratic Socialism Rescues Disaster Capitalism—AgainOur elected representatives are currently appropriating trillions of taxpayer’s dollars to save our economy from the ravages of COVID-19 and disaster capitalism. Here we go…

To say that this year’s Bartenders Battle was the best display of talent in the six years since its creation would be an understatement and a disservice to not only the bartenders who made it into the competition, but also the…

It goes without saying that Valentine’s Day is the most profitable of all the holidays and the one with the most tortured history, literally. It is confusing how an ancient Roman festival that involved sacrificing animals and…

Fargo obviously loves their classical music. Audiences have still turned out during the 2019-2020 season of the Sanford Masterworks Series performed by the Fargo-Moorhead Symphony Orchestra despite an unrelenting winter. That…

The most compelling and powerful idea in Kitty Green’s compelling and powerful film “The Assistant” resides in the network of complicity protecting the predator/stand-in for Harvey Weinstein and those like him. Green…

This weekend, the 10th Annual Unglued Craft Fest will be held at the Plains Art Museum, featuring over 70 local and regional artists selling handmade items. Though most are Fargo-Moorhead residents, artists from Minneapolis, Sioux…

Theatre

Fargo Film Festival 2020

by HPR Contributor

by Dominic EricksonThis March, the Fargo Film Festival will celebrate its 20th year of entertaining die-hard cinephiles and casual moviegoers alike. The festival begins on March 17 and concludes March 21. The event is once again…

by Kris Gruberperriex1@gmail.comAdam Quesnell's last show at The Cellar beneath the Front Street Taproom in Fargo was in early September of 2018. He was embarking on a seminal move from Minneapolis to LA. As always, his comedy was…

by Jill Finkelsonjsfinkelson99@gmail.comFar North Spirits, located up in Hallock, MN, is the northernmost distillery in the lower 48. They may be young in the distillery world but the farm and the spirit reach far into the past.…

Wellness

Discover Yoga Differently

by HPR Contributor

by Laurie J Bakeremsdatter@gmail.com Part of modern yoga is participating in the world around us. We live in a time of upheaval in society and nature, and of great suffering in humans of all ages. Most of us perceive this suffering…

by Devin Joubertdevinlillianjoubert@gmail.comIt’s that beautiful time of the year that’s filled with seasonal decorations, sparkly lights, warm family gatherings, and delicious feasts. I love everything about this time of the…

#14 of On Tyranny: Establish a private life. – “Nastier rulers will use what they know about you to push you around. Scrub your computer of malware on a regular basis. Remember that email is skywriting. Consider using…