In these days, social media will follow you anywhere in this world. I use it myself, but only to a certain degree. I think there is some kind of limit of how much you want to tell the world about yourself, but clearly some people don´t draw that line. Growing up as a teenager in the early 90´s we had no cell phones, internet did not really come around until the middle of the 90´s, so we used to hang out and have actual conversations. It was during this time i started writing movie reviews, but not on a computer but on paper instead. I still think i might have some left somewhere ( basements are great to preserve old stuff ). Something i have noticed about teenagers today, cell phones are basically a big part of their lives. And that is probably the way it is supposed to be, with todays young generation. Speaking of the 90´s, there were a number of films that showed the lifestyle of teenagers in the 90´s. One of those films i remember is of course the 1995 film Clueless, directed by Amy Heckerling ( who also directed the cult classic European Vacation with Chevy Chase ). I would not say that Clueless is one of the big classics of the 90´s, but this film actually managed to capture the life of 90´s with both music and style. Alicia Silverstone gave a performance that most of us that grew up young during this time remember, and you could say that this is probably one of her most appreciated films in her career. I am pretty sure most of you have seen The Purge by now, a movie released in 2013 from director James DeMonaco ( who directed 2 more Purge sequels ). The concept of this film was a bit different from ordinary home invasion movies. The Purge tells the story of a family, who tries to survive a night at the annual Purge ( a night where you get to kill anyone you want, but only for a certain amount of hours ). Imagine putting Clueless together with The Purge, what would you get ? Well i think me might have an answer, because this is the way the film Assassination Nation have been described by some movie reviewers. And this was the reason i became curious about this film, not knowing much else. I did notice that actor Bill Skarsgård is in this film, so that also caught my attention. A movie that blends very different styles together, is Assassination Nation a big surprise, or a failure we should all forget about ?
In the town of Salem, Lily Colson ( Odessa Young ) is a regular high school senior who hangs out with her best friends Bex ( Hari Nef ), Em ( Abra ) and Sarah ( Suki Waterhouse ). Their lives are filled with drama, but also with some really good times. Until one day, when Marty ( Noah Galvin ), a casual hacker, receives a message from an unknown hacker about Mayor Bartlett ( Cullen Moss ). There seems to be pictures of Mayor Bartlett wearing women´s underwear, and they would destroy his career. The pictures are leaked online, and chaos breaks out. It all ends with Mayor Bartlett killing himself, since he can not go on after this scandal. But it does not stop here, more pictures are being leaked online from ordinary people, including students at the school. When more secrets that are revealed, more people are getting angry across the city of Salem, and they are willing to do anything to find the people who destroyed their personal private lives.
I am shocked that this film never got a chance to be shown in Swedish cinemas. Because this film would have made Cinema visitors interested, in seeing a very different film than most ordinary Hollywood releases. Assassination Nation is not only a portrait of young women´s lives, but also how social media can destroy lives, including a whole city. We already heard on the news of stories such as former member of the United States House of Representatives known as Anthony Weiner, or former film producer Harvey Weinstein. In this film the sex scandals and the nude pictures can destroy many people lives, in just in a matter of minutes. But here it is not only the men who get their lives destroyed, that also includes some of the young women as well. I have to say that the acting in Assassination Nation is much better than i expected. Especially from the female cast, who deliver some really solid performances portraying young women who want to be confident and strong. Let´s start with mentioning actress Odessa Young ( who can be seen in the powerful drama movie The Daughter ). Her character Lily. She is a woman who is very clear about being proud of being a woman, and not afraid to stand up against the image of women as sexual objects. We also have actress Suki Waterhouse ( who you might remember from the funny horror comedy Pride and Prejudice and Zombies ) as Sarah. She also give a really good performance. Swedish actor Bill Skarsgård is here as well as the character Mark, and i have to say he also manage to give a solid performance. There are more great performances to mention, but let´s get into why Assassination Nation works so well. The plot is more intelligent than most movies that talk about young people. In a way a more brutal version of Lindsay Lohan classic 2004 movie Mean Girls, You could say that this film is divided into two stories, mixed together. But this works really well, and towards the end of the film i guarantee you will feel emotional. Another thing that this film manage to do, is to tell the story of how vulnerable young women are being exposed online. There is especially a bathroom scene where Lily finds out that her personal videos have been leaked, and all hell breaks loose. Director Sam Levinson ( who directed the really good drama movie The Wizard Of Lies ), have made his best film so far with Assassination Nation. Not only does he manage to tell a story that fits right into todays society with social media, but also how people view young women as sexual objects. I am glad i started this year with Assassination Nation, and i hope you will check out this film also. A powerful movie that has a lot to say about how it is to be young in a modern world.