Death of a Nation (2018) review

Rated: 3 / 5

Condescending broad generalizations,
get real old real fast!  Yeah!
Just because most hippies and their parents have sold out,
does not mean that you (yeah you),
and your children,and their kids won’t last!
Say your prayers, with the death of a nation!
Say your prayers, for a dead a generation!
— Anti-Flag, Death of a Nation

Alright cocksuckers, time to get political.  Don’t want to deal with that, then don’t read the review (or maybe you just don’t want to here the opinion of someone who supports this movie and would rather spend your time reading all the “<= 1 star” reviews that support your confirmation bias).  For everyone else who is either the intended audience for this film, or isn’t but is actually legitimately curious as to what some of the film’s supporters have to say about it, hopefully some of which may be interested in a discussion to sway minds, feel free to proceed.

NOTE: To Letterboxd moderators, strike this review down like you did with The Red Pill, it will become more powerful than you can possibly imagine. Zwoo Zwish.

OBI WAN MEMES image memes at relatably.com

“I’m going to judge each and every customer who comes to see this.” Chadwin

Alright, so first thing I got to say about this movie is that it isn’t the best-made film out there.  In the end, it’s basically a glorified History Channel special with a longer running time and a… well I’m honestly not sure if I can say a higher budget because some of the special effects are shit, including Hitler’s mustache.  But in all fairness, the History Channel wouldn’t air shit like this because they’re selective in what they’ll show nowadays (and for the past few years).  They’d rather do reality-tv stuff and Ancient Aliens.  If they tried to make some documentary like this, it would derail fast.

Second, the interviews.  This film does the one thing that makes me skeptical of any and every interview segment done in documentaries, or even news broadcasts.  Continual cutting between people talking.  As in the camera doesn’t stay focused on the speaker the entire time, but cuts back and forth between the person listening, and some other clips/flashbacks.  It’s enough to make one think they’re altering what’s being said to fit the intended narrative.  The funny thing it though, it does the exact same thing whenever Dinesh D’Souza is speaking to the person he’s interviewing too.  So now I’m wondering if he’s (overly) biased with his presentation of interviews, or if he really is this terrible of a film-maker.

Make no mistake, whether you agree or disagree with the message of this film, there’s no denying that Dinesh just isn’t cut out for making movies.  Now I say this having not seen his other previous works, though I am aware of their existence.  They just didn’t really interest me enough for various reasons.  America: Imagine The World Without Her.  No.  I’m not into “what ifs” or “what could’ve beens”, at least not when the entire movie is based around that idea.  2016: Obama’s America.  What’s the point when we are pretty much living in Obama’s America in 2016?  What does it matter if the movie is right or wrong on whatever points it makes?  Didn’t seem like it was going to make any difference or change anyone’s mind, thus it failed to make me interested in seeing it, as it comes off as pointless and only existing for confirmation bias.  Hillary’s America.  That one I wanted to see, until I saw the trailer.  The movie just looked so fucking bad, I just didn’t care about the message at that point.  The acting, the sets, the bluntness; I wasn’t sure if I should laugh or roll my eyes or both.  I would rather see him give a speech at a college campus about the message of the movie; which he did, and I did watch that, and I’m pretty sure it’s preferable to watching the film.  Alternatively, I guess I could’ve read the book.

So what made me want to see this movie rather than the others?  The title and the message seemed more overall relevant, at least enough to allow me to get through the budget bullshit of historical re-enactments (I mean, to be fair, they are on-par with most History Channel stuff, but that’s why I don’t watch most of today’s History Channel stuff; use some fucking still photos, it’s cheaper that way, and probably more convincing).  The message being how America is likely in a downward spiral towards implosion (ie self-destruction), and drawing parallels to other nations of the past which suffered similar fates.  That of Hitler’s Germany, Mussolini’s Italy, and Rome.  Unfortunately, regarding the latter, the film just says Rome’s name at the beginning as an example of nations that fell, but that’s where Rome’s significance with the film’s message begins and ends.  He never talks about the how/why it fell compared to how he covered Germany and Italy (though in the case of those 2 nations, they’re still around, they just had to pick themselves up after getting beaten down badly while under the rule of fascist dictators; actual fascist dictators, without stretching the definition like people do today).

It does take a while for the film to get to that point though, getting to the actual meat of the subject matter.  Until then, you have to put up with the first 20 minutes (or so).  First there’s the terrible re-enactment of the last act of that movie Downfall.  Then there’s the whole coverage of Trump during his 2015 and 2016 rise to presidency, which will either be sweet music to your ears, or nails on a chalkboard, depending on your political views and how much entertainment you find in seeing leftists laugh at Trump’s chances and then seeing them melt down in despair over the election results (I’m of the sweet music variety myself).

Once it gets past all that, then the film finally gets going.  Mentioning ANTIFA and their rioting and silencing of opposing speakers on campuses, plus their destruction of property.  The leftist’s tactics of doing everything they can to take Trump out in one fashion or another, starting with recounting the election results in some states (which had the opposite desired effect), then calling on the Hollywood has-beens to convince the electoral college to not do their duty and vote the way the voters want them to vote, which ended up failing despite the death threats they received.  So then they went for calling Trump racist/sexist/fascist/etc., all the stuff you’ve heard before in one form or another, especially if you’ve been on any social media site at anytime from 2017 and onward.  And, of course, there’s the currently ongoing Mueller investigation which probably isn’t going to turn up anything significant.

The film does mention that the media is biased in their coverage of Trump, but it doesn’t spend anywhere near enough time on this topic, considering the parallels it will draw on later, mainly with Hitler’s Germany.  Same thing with what schools are teaching, which it spends even less time on (which is probably only a few seconds).  Maybe if the film did that instead of having these 2 pause moments where some patriotic music is being sung, once by this lady on a stage (where the fuck is John Wilkes?  He needed to get out of that booth and shoot me in the head to put me out of my misery during that segment), and a second time just before the end credits by this black choir (the entire time I was thinking, “Lord murder me now”; make that a choir song).

State lies dressed up as evening news
We’re tired of lies we want the truth
Broadcast by corpses courting you
We’re tired of lies we want the truth

Most people they will never know
We’re tired of lies we want the truth
With you or against you?
Then I am against you because you’re a

Turncoat, killer, liar, thief
Criminal with protection of the law
I can’t hear you
Turncoat, killer, liar, thief
Criminal with protection of the law

In your corner, makes me wanna, oh
Douse myself in gasoline
Civil servants fall in line for you
Too brainwashed to see the truth
You use anyone you can

–Anti-Flag, Turncoat

Anyway, the film draws parallels between Mussolini’s blackshirts, Hitler’s Nazis, and the actions of ANTIFA, the media, and the police.  How the blackshirts cracked down on protesters and were eventually given power as militia to maintain order under Mussolini.  The Nazis more or less did the same under Hitler in Germany (after one failed attempt anyway).  The news sources were only to report specific news bits and not others, supporting these new radicals and not condemning them, ultimately assisting in their rise to power.  And the police stood down to let these groups go on cracking down on protesters, and teachers in school who weren’t teaching students the way Hitler/Mussolini demanded.

In the case of Germany, they also wanted to purge Communists and Jews from the nation.  Communists for having a different ideology, being more loyal to Communism and Russia than to the Fuhrer and Germany.  The Jews, uh, honestly I’m still not sure why they wanted to crack down on them.  Because Hitler hated himself or something?  Well in any case, the Nazis molded their method of purging Jews after the method Democrats had during that time period of labeling black people as second-class citizens.  Democrats had this “1 drop” policy, indicating that 1 drop of negro blood makes you black and thus a second-class citizen, meaning that if just one parent or grandparent in your lineage was black, you’re second-class.  Something that was pointed out in the film Free State of Jones.  The Nazis thought this was too harsh (which I think is hilarious, the assholes who went genocide on people of a religion, they thought the democrats and KKK were too harsh for treating blacks as second-class citizens; priorities).  So they implemented a 3 drop policy instead, meaning if you had 3 parents or grandparents who were Jewish, you were labelled a Jew, and less than a citizen, and eligible for the camps and the chambers.  Wonder if Hitler fit those parameters.

Anyway, apparently, prior to WWII, or at least prior to learning of the said concentration camps and genocide of the Jewish people, the democrats, and Franklin D. Roosevelt admired Hitler, for his rise to power, for turning Germany into a more efficient socialist populist country, and felt honored to know he based some element of his policies off of that of the democrat handbook.  But once the war ended and the genocide became known, the democrats had a change of heart.  They couldn’t be found to be associated with Germany at that point, not in that way.  So they took inspiration out of the Nazi’s handbook, to censor/rewrite history, stating that they had nothing to do with Hitler’s policies, being an inspiration or otherwise, and shift that onto the republican right, something they would also do during the 1960s civil rights movement.

As the poster for the film indicates, Dinesh also attempts to draw parallels between Abraham Lincoln and Donald Trump, stating that both were elected during a time when there was pushback against democratic racism, which would end up igniting a civil war.  However, it is here that Dinesh is stretching.  Granted, there are some similarities between the two presidents when it came to the social/political climate, but it really oversimplifies history when stating that the civil war happened because Lincoln became president.  While it’s true that may have been a factor, that wasn’t the sole factor, and probably not even the primary factor.  No more than slavery was (again, it was a factor, but probably not the primary factor).  There was also the economic and social differences between the North and the South, with how the North was developing advanced technology while the South stayed a bit more on the, for lack of a better word, primitive side of technology. State rights vs. Federal rights. Unions and workers.  It was about how the North was evolving into a new way of life while the South wanted to stay in an older way of life.  The development of technology that would make slaves picking cotton an inefficient and outdated method compared to technology that would do if for plantation owners, the North embraced this, the South did not.  Both sides had rights and wrongs, but neither were able to resolve their differences through dialogue and compromise.  So the war came.

So the film gets docked a point for that parallel attempt.  But it does get a partial point back for pointing out that there were still plenty of Democrats in the North during the civil war who were very much pro-slavery, who were against the president, even as war was tearing the country apart.  Personally, I would’ve found it amusing if the documentary also pointed out the parallels between Hollywood actors of today tend to be anti-Trump, and how John Wilkes Booth was clearly anti-Lincoln.  There’s some similarities the film doesn’t address that feel like missed opportunities.

Well, they’re planting the seeds on destruction’s eve.
Then take away your rights to keep you free.
Yeah they’re planting the seeds on destruction’s eve.
Then take away your rights to keep you free
on your knees still the vengeance of the world
will target you! DOWN ON YOU? DOWN ON YOOOOOOOOU?!!!

Our flesh turned to ash will scatter in the wind.

BOOM BOOM BOOM!

Such a wicked force you had never seen though countless times it took place in your name.

BOOM BOOM BOOM!

Your apathy comes with a price tag after all it seems.

–Anti-Flag, When You Don’t Control Your Government People Want To Kill You

There is plenty of other stuff in the movie, and once it starts the whole parallel game, it moves at a very fast pace, so fast you’re forced to keep paying attention lest you lose some factoid that could fly over your head.  But I’ll only mention 2 other bits.

1.) Dinesh interviews this guy who is considered to be one of the most popular white fascist neo-nazis in America today, Richard Spencer.  Now personally, I didn’t really know anything about this guy until this film.  I mean, I’ve heard his name mentioned before, and I might’ve heard it being associated with white supremacy, but it’s always been more as an afterthought, as a “I couldn’t care less.”  So seeing some build-up to his reputation and then seeing the interview segment, I found it kind of interesting.  At first, I was trying to figure out if there was anything wrong with this guy, for someone many associate (by generalization, of course) with Trump and thus use that as a means to label both as white supremacists.  But the further the interview went on, the more distinct Spencer’s views became from Trump.  On top of that, his philosophical beliefs became more clear, and it became more obvious why he’s such a controversial figure.  He only wants white people to immigrate (legally) into America.  He doesn’t really believe much in the visa policy.  And, in some sense that’s not quite as simple as many would make it out to be, he does believe whites are superior, but not in a neo-nazi kind of way.  In any case, Dinesh does point out flaws in some areas of his beliefs, while at the same time showcasing how generalizing and “guilt-by-association” is dangerous for people on all sides, no matter their political stance or personal beliefs.

2.) The White Rose movement in Nazi Germany during the last years of the war.  Up until this film, I hadn’t heard of White Rose or Sophie Scholl.  For those who don’t know, she and her brother and other family/friends printed anti-nazi, anti-Hitler propaganda and secretly mailed it to citizens, pasted them in phone booths and random places in various cities, and placed them around classrooms and dormitories in schools.  However, she was eventually caught, tried, and executed, along with her brother. and acquaintance.  She was brought up near the end of the film as an example on how to win against true fascism, against true oppression, against censorship and socialist rule.  Would’ve helped if the film mentioned how her efforts and martyrdom actually helped Germany, but it seemed content just to show someone being the equivalent of a modern right-wing blogger/youtuber dying for a cause.

But that wasn’t enough to satisfy me.  So after getting home from the cinemas, I proceeded to look up some facts on this person, and was rewarded by finding a film titled Sophie Scholl: The Final Days.  It fleshed things out a bit, and opened up another point of view in Germany during WWII.  Yes there was rule by Nazis, harsh rules, strict penalties.  But you also gain insight into others who don’t identify as Nazis.  As those who are just German citizens.  Publicly, they support the Fuhrer.  But you can tell with some subtle manners and expressions, they do so out of fear of retaliation.  That many don’t want to see Germany continue to be this way.  So they stay silent (silent majority?) and cooperative with the Nazis and the National Socialist Party (ok, I guess those are the same thing in this case) rather than have the balls to revolt.  But not those in the White Rose movement.  Not Sophie Scholl.  She hoped to inspire others to  revolt and stop the madness.  And after her death, one of the last leaflets was smuggled out of Germany, and mass printed by the U.S., and they rained copies of the leaflet down onto Germany in mid-1943.  All this from a student who hated seeing how not just her school, but her country was turning out due to censorship, media, and a fanatical ruler and socialist party.

And today the damn thing is beginning to repeat itself.  It’s been happening in the U.K. with Tommy Robinson, it’s starting to happen in the U.S., particularly where anyone would want the brainwashing to begin, at the schools and campuses.  But it’s not just a political party (disguised as a religion) making all this happen, it’s also a religion (disguised as a political party).  The film opts not to bring up the religion portion of all this.

The title for this movie is “White Rose Campus… Then Everybody Gets Raped”  Seriously, that’s the translation.  My dark sense of humor make it too difficult for me to resist posting this here.

Despite the flaws, this film is relevant enough to be worth watching today, if nothing else than as a conversation starter, something to encourage critical-thinking and further research into the subjects covered in this film.  But that’s the difficult part, as I’ve seen.  From the opposing reviews I’ve read so far, many aren’t interested in digging deeper to find the flaws or embellishments, to compose constructive arguments for or against the film.  Many would rather just label it as nonsense just on principal, on the principals they’ve been taught and raised with by people just as ignorant as them. But to be fair, I’ve spotted at least one article that at least attempts to make a sound argument against the film.  Case in point, Vadim Rizov of AVClub:

To prove that Hitler wasn’t a “right-winger” but truly belongs to the left, D’Souza notes that the dictator is often deemed right-wing because he’s perceived as homophobic. (Well, yes.) But in fact, that’s incorrect, because Hitler tolerated homosexuals in the brownshirts as long as they were good fighters; ergo, he wasn’t homophobic, and by extension he’s not right-wing. Beyond the ridiculousness of the claim, D’Souza either missed the logical conclusion of his own argument—that to be right-wing is to be homophobic—or hopes the audience doesn’t clock the trap he’s set for himself.

The problem with this is that he’s cherry-picking.  This isn’t anywhere near the only argument Dinesh makes for Hitler not being a right-winger (though I will agree it is one of his weakest).  As stated earlier, there’s also his socialistic policies taken in-part from the democratic playbook (at the time), with how a socialist regime should operate, with how to repress citizens that can be made out to be enemies of the state, for the sake of having a scapegoat if nothing else (though I do believe Hitler had a belief about the Aryan race being superior and thus mandating non-Aryans be wiped out, similar to how blacks were viewed pre-1970s, let alone pre-civil war).  Plus how FDR among other democrats admired Hitler (as did JFK during the 1930s, though this isn’t mentioned in this film).  The gay segment was put in less as an attempt to separate Hitler from the right-wing than to say, “In some respects, he wasn’t as terrible as democrats in this regard.”  You know, like saying at least people don’t freeze to death in Death Valley, California.

One more bit from that article:

The reason D’Souza interviews Spencer is to prove that Trump is not a white nationalist; to that end, he asks Spencer questions about whether he loves America and the flag. Spencer spouts exactly the same kind of racist drivel he says in any situation (along with inexplicably citing James Polk as one of his favorite presidents), D’Souza says that he sounds more like a liberal than a conservative, and Spencer, predictably, doesn’t care; if that makes him a liberal, he’s fine with that. Case closed: Donald Trump loves Ronald Reagan and conservatism, unlike Richard Spencer, and therefore he’s not racist. That D’Souza carefully (“respectfully”) talks with Spencer, taking great pains not to overtly attack him, solely to make this inane non-point, is staggering.

Oversimplifying the conversation and cherry-picking yet again.  There’s also the immigration stances, Spencer’s views on whites as opposed to any other race, how no life is special, among other things I don’t recall many hours after viewing the movie.  Plus there’s more to be gained from his interview with Spencer than just, “This is how he differs from Trump.”

And it’s easy to spot ignorance when SJWs and radical left-wingers make statements that are usually groundless rather than a well-composed argument.  Those who just say it’s ridiculous hogwash rather than stating specifics as to what makes it hogwash.  Those who follow an SJW policy as blindly as many followed the Nazi policies in WWII, both in and out of classrooms.  And who believe it’s the right thing to do to silence opposition by shouting them down, by censoring them, and by attacking them; rather than by reasoning.

You can spoon my eyes out, But I can still see through you
Slice my ears from my head, But you cannot shut out the sounds of truth
Lock off each hand at the wrist, So I can’t raise my fist.

You can kill the protester, But you can’t kill the protest
You can murder the rebel, You can’t murder the rebellion
Sawed my feet at the ankles, But I wasn’t going to run
So he grabbed my face, And sliced off my tongue
Lock off each hand at the wrist, So I can’t raise my fist
You can kill the protester, But you can’t kill the protest
You can murder the rebel, You can’t murder the rebellion

–Anti-Flag, You Can Kill The Protester, But You Can’t Kill The Protest

The film doesn’t flesh out its points enough to be great, and it doesn’t help that some of the re-enactment scenes look so cheap.  And even though I’m a patriot, those 2 song segments annoyed the shit out of me.  But if you can look past that and focus on practically everything else that happens after the first 20 minutes, you’ll find relevant information.  The film may not fully succeed in the whole parallel thing, since it misses opportunities in some regards and reaches too far in others, but it does hit enough of the time.  Where the film primarily succeeds is in taking the arguments many SJWs come up with against Trump, and his supporters, and right-wingers in general, and throws them back in their face by exposing their own hypocrisy.  This is a film I would normally give 2 1/2 stars, but it’s current relevance gives it that extra half star.  This isn’t a film that will likely stand the test of time.  Most politically-driven documentaries don’t.

If Dinesh ends up making another film, he’s better off letting someone else direct and edit it.  He’s better as a writer and speaker than he is as a film-maker.

2 thoughts on “Death of a Nation (2018) review

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