‘Assassination Nation:’ slightly messy, overall pretty good time

Lots of movies focus on a subtle message that the audience is supposed to realize through reflective thought on the film they just viewed. “Assassination Nation” threw that idea out the window and decided that it was going to cram it’s message down the audience’s throat. And you know what? It works. Mostly.

“Assassination Nation” seeks to bring to light all the hypocrisies and prejudices found within American society, and it will not let you know quietly. This movies seeks to criticize so much that it may seem like it has too much on it’s plate at times, but through embracing it’s own ridiculousness, “Assassination Nation” becomes an engaging and exciting ride.

“Assassination Nation” focuses on high school student Lily Colson (Odessa Young) and her 3 best friends, Sarah (Suki Waterhouse), Em (Abra) and Bex (Hari Nef). Their town of Salem, Massachusetts is shaken when a data hack reveals secrets about their mayor, and subsequently, their high school principal. All seems to be fine outside of the recent scandal, but when the hacker leaks the private information of most of the townspeople, including Lily, people quickly start to turn on each other, fighting with each other over their leaked secrets. When Lily is falsely accused of being the hacker, Lily and her friends must band together in order to survive, as the entire town has decided she must die for her false crimes.

“Assassination Nation” seeks to criticize a lot, even going as far as to include a trigger warning at the beginning of the movie detailing all the topics that will be covered, ranging from homophobia to toxic masculinity. While there are many topics introduced, in the movies defense, all of these points are touched on, albeit without any subtlety. However, this is not to the movie’s detriment, as this embracing of a highly stylized, high stakes atmosphere makes the movie enjoyable.

By “one-upping” itself at every turn, “Assassination Nation” keeps the audience well invested in its story and relevant social commentary sprinkled in between. Also to the movie’s credit, it goes out of its way to not only show that something in our society is wrong, but also shows why it’s wrong, which is very important for movies that criticize our social constructs. This not only caters to those who already agree with what is being said, but also caters to those who may not agree with the criticisms, but can now perhaps have their mind’s changed.

For all it’s enjoyable, high-intensity scenes, the script for this movie is all-in-all rather weak. There are frequent lines of dialogue that feel clunky and unnatural, although there are some exceptions to this rule, like the final speech of the movie. While the dialogue is not perfect, this is not a movie that was relying on it’s dialogue to be enjoyable. Rather, the dialogue serves as a simple vehicle to show off it’s criticisms and messages. So, while the dialogue needs work, the weak script does not take away from the overall enjoyment of the movie.

This movie’s biggest flaw comes from it’s rather abrupt ending. All hell is breaking loose and our protagonist’s have rallied and are ready to fight one more time. Everything is building towards a huge climax, with hundreds of people in the streets ready for war. And then it just ends. It resolves itself in the quickest way possible, which felt like a cop-out for the viewer. The movie, despite it’s flaws, gets you invested, and makes you want to see this enormous climax, and then it never comes. Just five more minutes on the movie’s run time and it would have been a much more enjoyable experience. This abruptness does not ruin the movie, but does leave the audience wanting just a little bit more.

“Assassination Nation” is decent. It’s not incredible, by any means, but it’s also not horrible either. It falls in this middle ground of “enjoyable.” It provides a highly stylized aesthetic, with very relevant social commentary, that is slightly bogged down by a weak script and abrupt ending. If you are looking for something simple, that will spend it’s 2 hour run time calling out bigotry and prejudices, then this movie is for you. If you require something more subtle and more thought out, then maybe you can pass on this one. Overall “Assassination Nation” makes for an enjoyable, relevant movie that is certainly worth seeing.