LFF Film Review: Assassination Nation (2018)


 – Modern The Crucible in the millennial style

A story about hunting girls in a small town called Salem? It is a good choice of beginning this crazy tale. In a high school in the US, Lily and her three best friends are just having a regular senior-year life. Until an anonymous hacker starts leaking people’s heinous secrets, the whole town commences this witch-hunting of “who’s the next pervert” and “who’s the hacker”.

The narrative starts. We follow this voice, Lily, to enter her world. After the introduction opening scene, the fast editing of “warnings” of the things to come is impressive. Combining colours, music and good rhythm of edits, it draws the attention and rises the repulsion towards this society right away. Through the whole movie, we are guided by her narrative, which I forgot sometimes who’s speaking now since there are four main girls on the screen.


And we need to talk about movies in the past few years like The Circle, Ingrid Goes West, Unfriended, Nerve and recently A Simple Favour. They almost form a style in films—a lot of typed texts on the side, vertical screens of phones, split screens, pop music, and fast editing. Teaming up with all kinds of social media, the audience nowadays knows the sound of Twitter better than the doorbell. In this millennial generation, even cinemas are made to look like a  teenager.

The camera movement is quite playful, too. Twirling or upside down is just the new common. The long-shot around the house in three dimensions when the invasion starts is the most satisfying scene. We see characters from outside of the windows, going from the bedroom to downstairs and to the kitchen or the bathroom. It suddenly feels like playing them in a dollhouse. The cinematography changes with the story going deep. When the “dark part” of the film is unfolded, the editing, colours and the pathing are more aggressive and forward. And in those amazing three-spilt-screen shots, they are integrated with the colours of the American flag and implying the mind of the characters at the same time, which makes the storytelling even more intriguing.

Seeing movies from the US now, you cannot miss the political situation anymore. Someone important (the mayor in the film) is being brutally revealed his dirty secrets and feels ashamed enough to commit suicide. The irony is that people only know about scandals by accepting the unlawful way in the first place, which results in the demolition of the social structure in the town.

At some points in the movie, it almost feels like the battle of sexes. As a woman, I cannot say it’s not fulfilling to watch our heroines killing their ways out to survival and still having sympathies for the man who tries to hang her. The speech to gather women towards the final fight scene strikes me the most. As the tagline says—You asked for it, America—all the sexual assaults, equal pay and then empowering women movements, not just in the US, but happen everywhere in the world. Just like Lily declares, “You may kill me. But you can’t kill us all.”



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