Assassination Nation (2018) – Review

Assassination Nation hits theaters on September 21st.

[Ed. note: Being that TV and City is on a bit of a hiatus, this article has not been edited.]

By David Cuevas

I still clearly remember the uproarious theater experience I had when I saw Sam Levinson’s Assassination Nation. It was nearly 11 in the night, and a packed sold-out screening eagerly anticipated the madness which was to come. With each gunshot and wound, the audience flipped, chanting in unison “KILL KILL KILL!”, while a marching band slowly and anonymously entered the Ryerson, getting ready to play along with the film’s epic end credit finale. This is Assassination Nation. An audacious film which needs to be experienced in a packed crowd. Now I can’t guarantee a marching band nor a crowd of near psychopathic audience members will attend all screening of this bombastic flick. What I can say, however, is that like the nation it’s depicting, this film will divide people. As for myself, I’m on the pro side of things and it most definitely got my vote.

Assassination Nation is a dense film that manages to succeed in every element it sets out to do. It’s graphic, profane, and vexatious, yet somehow the end result delivered plenty of thought-provoking and insightful messages on the current state of the world today. Like what Sam Levinson detailed during the Q and A, the film originally started as a satire, but eventually, with time, the film slowly became more of a reality as the world progressed. There were plenty of laugh out loud black comedy moments, yet at the same time, there was also a couple of extremely disturbing, bone-chilling scenes, including an astonishingly directed house invasion set piece, that I guarantee will be engraved in your memory for a long time.

Similar to BlacKkKlansman, which came out earlier this year, this film is in no way supposed to be subtle. It’s completely self-aware and on the nose with its themes of gun control, sex, discrimination, assault, and the political climate. Some may say that this film is too “edgy” for them, due to the over usages of heavy topics used in a satirical and darkly comedic context. However, as for myself, while this element may turn several people off, I thought that all of its wild ideologies satisfied my deeply sick cinephile needs to deem this film a blast to watch. Even though there were plenty of pacing mishaps in the second act, there is plenty of kinetic and chaotic material to feast on here.

Assassination Nation is the kind of film which I would love to see more in cinemas. It’s an audacious loud film which refuses to keep quiet, and I loved nearly all of it. As stated previously, the pace in the second act detracts a bit of enjoyment from the final product, but in regard to the other two acts, this film is simply outstanding. Someone contact Sam Levinson right now because he deserves all the recognition he can get. This is cult classic material in the making!

I give Assassination Nation an A-.