Tuesday, July 12, 2022

American Carnage: It is Ugly

This film is so bad, it could cost the Democrats another Texas congressional seat. Basically, it suggests there are two kinds of people in the world: dreamers and evil Republican cannibals. Thank you writer-director Diego Hallivis for contributing the divisiveness and demonization that is poisoning our public discourse. That is pretty much the gist of American Carnage, so do not feel any urgent need to watch it when American Carnage (named for a Trump speech, naturally) opens this Friday on VOD.

Governor Finn Harper has just signed executive orders mandating the round-up and deportation of all illegal aliens in his state. Of course, the Federal government has jurisdiction over immigration so Hallivis and co-writer Julio Hallivis get a “F” for civics, but they clearly do not want to let facts stand in the way of political score-settling. Alas, JP and his sister Lily (just accepted at Columbia) are among the first wave of detentions, along with Camilla and Micah, who tell the audience as soon as they can that they are socialists (way to really broaden the support for your characters).

However, JP is offered an alternative to deportation. If he agrees to serve as intern-orderly at a weird home for the aged, he can get his fast-track to citizenship. However, the residents are suspiciously zonked out and the supervisors are racist bullies. There is something very bad in store for residents and orderlies alike—think “Soylent.”

This film is such a screed that there is no way to engage its mindset in dialogue. You either agree with open borders or you are a racist. Yet, that kind of attitude directly contributed to Mexican-born Republican Mayra Flores flipping a historically blue Texas district in a recent special election. Clearly, they are concerned about the impact of the border chaos, even in the Rio Grande Valley. A film like this will just further alienate Tejano Texans.

It is a shame the film is so abrasive, because Allen Maldonado works valiantly to inject some desperately needed energy and humor into this stilted agitprop, playing Big Mac, the comic relief. Bella Ortiz also gets some credit for a somewhat entertaining character “swerve.” However, the rest of the stock characters are duller than dish water.

Even if you are sympathetic to the film’s biases, its didactic tone crushes its watchability. This is simply a ham-fisted, irredeemably bad film. If you are not with Hallivis and company 100%, they consider you evil to the core, so just avoid it entirely. Not recommended,
American Carnage releases this Friday (7/15) on VOD.