Director: Dinesh D'Souza, Bruce Schooley | Screenwriter: Dinesh D'Souza, Bruce Schooley | Cast: Dinesh D'Souza | Distributor: Quality Flix | Running Time: 102 min. | MPAA Rating: PG-13
Dinesh D’Souza has stepped up his crazy game for his third political documentary. After his 2012 Obama-slamming propaganda of 2016 Obama’s America failed to prevent the re-election of a Democrat, the fear-mongering and cartoonish staging have been cranked to ludicrous speed. No more messing around! He goes the extra mile to ensure that Democrats are mustache-twirling villains, Hillary Clinton is the harbinger of doom, and that he is the political martyr that will help us see the light in his “educational film” that he insists is not political propaganda. He was arrested so you could vote Republican and show those nasty KKK-loving, baby-killing Democrats!
In actuality, Dinesh was convicted for a straw donor scheme to funnel money for a candidate, but the movie wants us to believe it was really because he was exposing the truth about Obama. It was hilarious to watch how Dinesh staged this trial where the judge and jury have a smug smirk and scowl on their faces, as though they’re going to rob a bank after the trial. This is all Obama’s fault as he cites on his way to confinement, “You don’t make a movie about the most powerful man in the world and not expect the empire to strike back.” Sure, because there were many innocent filmmakers jailed for those dozens of George Bush documentaries circa 2004.
Even funnier is his staging of the halfway house that seems frightening and hardcore like a prison movie of cackling guards and intimidating inmates. But, wait, it gets even more hilarious when he later ventures to the museum of Democrats where he secretly dashes down to the basement storeroom and uncovers the true history of the political party, as though he were in a Dan Brown novel. He’s just testing the waters here to see how much of this footage you’ll truly believe. Because once he dips into directing his reenactments, he’s so far off the rails I almost wonder if he’s in the wrong line of filmmaking and should consider comedy skits.
The film follows D’Souza’s usual groove of flawed debate, where he digs deep into the past to make points about the present. You think the Republicans are racist? Well, there was a time when the Democrats were endorsing the KKK. But wasn’t there a paradigm shift in the parties over time? Don’t ask such nonsense! Watch this shocking reenactment of Woodrow Wilson screening The Birth of a Nation in the White House and fantasizing about clansmen literally flying off the screen. Ah, yes; how could historians forget that moment where Wilson in his KKK-adoring gaze followed a hallucination of a clansman out onto the White House lawn and stood in awe of the potential before him. It’s probably the liberal media covering their asses because if Dinesh’s opening cartoon of a trial is anything to go off of, it’s always the Democrats’ fault.
Strangely absent from most of the film is the target of Hillary Clinton. It takes about an hour to even get to her, as current Democrats do in Dinesh’s familiar formula of merging history with propaganda. When dissecting Hillary’s own past, Dinesh somehow manages to concoct a version of Hillary Clinton even more cartoonish than the most scathing of political cartoons. Watch as that evil college student of a Clinton laughs loudly at Nixon’s televised speech, bickering and refuting with a twirl of her invisible mustache. I’m surprised Dinesh goes this far with her in reconstructing her past, but then pulls back to turn her into a faceless Doctor Claw style villain for her current policies, smacking papers out of the hands of aides in frustration.
Now before you go on a tirade with all your claims, yes, Hillary Clinton is not golden. There are very valid criticisms of the Clintons and their political strategies, the most damning being their charity effort for Haiti which was a mess that didn’t do much good for the country. That’s a strong case against her, but it’s unfortunately drowned out over miles of unfounded slander, rewritten events of history, unintentionally hilarious reenactments, and the most pandering of patriotic musical numbers.
To any Republicans that want to defend this film as an argument for their stance, I implore you to consider that you do not need this film. If your candidate is a strong one, you shouldn’t have to rely on the tired “would you rather have Hillary” argument. There’s nothing of value in this film, only mudslinging most maniacal and distortion of perceptions to whip up Dinesh’s delusional fantasy of cracking The DaVinci Code of the Democratic Party. He all but holds your hand up to the polls to go vote for not-Hillary as he gazes longingly at the ballots he cannot use for committing a felony, like a punished puppy begging to be let back inside the house. And, yet, it’s probably the best scene in the film because it encourages the audience to go out and vote. It’s also pleasing to know that you still have the power while lunatic felons like Dinesh can only make goofy and brain-dead propaganda films from the sidelines.