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TIFF 2018 Review: “Assassination Nation” (2018) ★★★★★


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We never like the truth that hurts. Some of us may not take seriously the fact that it is us who made this society so unacceptable to live in. Using “The Purge”, Dark Web, “Searching” as examples will be the right thing to do but it’s “Assassination Nation” from writer/director Sam Levinson that will blow your mind away. What he does with his story is truly remarkable. He dives into the crazy world and turns it upside down. It shows what we are about to get, the process that has already started, and if we are lucky enough, may never live that long to witness it. But I am afraid it might be late already…

“Assassination Nation” examines the impact of internet, lies presented as the truth, false accusations that are being taken as a matter of fact, public execution, racism, sexualizing objects, rape, hypocrisy, modern era of a social network, how lives can be damaged within a minute, and how satisfying it is when someone with a single bullet can end his life. It does not need to be based on a true story, but enough to notice what it means when one little click can create a bunch of people that can quickly assassin the value of the nation, of this world within their own community. And what’s said by the eighteen year old Lily when she angrily looks straight at the camera, “You think I am strict and too violent. Well, this is the world you created. I just got in.” is enough to be fully prepared for the wildest and surreal night you might ever get in your entire life.

Someone decides to hack the city of Salem. First, it’s the mayor whose secret life becomes a laughing stock for people. While they were having fun from the widely spread pictures of him throughout the internet, the mayor takes his best friend with him and approaches towards the stage, where in front of everyone he ends the painful shame along with his life. The people quickly turn into vampires, not literally, but started demanding for more blood. Then the anonymous hacker hacks principal Turrell’s account and bares his private life in front of the world. All these happen while the four best friends, Lily (Odessa Young), Bex (Hari Nef), Sarah (Suki Waterhouse) and Em (Abra) are enjoying their youth, until the moment when Lily’s account was hacked as well, her life became public, and every single person now in the entire city wants to kill her.

Well, needless to say, it’s madness that occurs in “Assassination Nation”. To be honest, it’s too strict to allow our brain to process it, but honest enough to have us scared to death. The character development or the way the story unfolds is something you barely can take your eyes off, but if you do that, you will regret every minute of it. Indeed, Levinson had the straight agenda to follow and many, I must admit, may not like it at all. But the truth is, we can’t escape the reality we created. We can’t avoid watching movies like “Assassination Nation” because we know better now where we are heading to if we want to stop it, otherwise, when that life-changing moment arrives, it will be too late to fix the damage we brought on ourselves and find no place to hide.

In the end, “Assassination Nation” is the most unsettling piece to watch, but the most important one as well. From start to end it quits playing childish games and begins exploiting human nature the way it is. Especially the nature of social network, expensive toys we get such as technology and how we misuse it. The rules set to follow are broken, we just pretend that we respect it. But as soon as the opportunity comes to cross boundaries, the effect of it will be the same as the one we get in “The Purge” or “Searching”. And that’s why this movie is so damn good!

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