Saturday, March 21, 2020

Review: "The Hunt" is America's grandest wake up call

The Hunt Review
Ever since November 2016, our nation has changed dramatically and it seems like we have all to some degree, shown our true colors. We need to heal and we need to unite, but for the first time in forever neither side wants to compromise, nobody is willing to go 90 while the other side goes 10. It does at times feel like we are two nations somehow stapled together and each nation is viciously fighting for air. Everything is political nowadays, even things that have absolutely no business being political. We love getting our fingers out, pointing to those on the other side of the political fence, and saying, this is all your fault. Whether its true and whether its fair doesn't play into it.

We have also seen a handful of movies being made in recent years that is dissecting everything happening in the nation at the time. There are always people trying to say what something is about based on a trailer. But possibly the most important thing I will say regarding movies is that you seeing a trailer is not the same thing as seeing the movie. Take Jordan Peele's "Get Out." The right-wingers were so sure that since "Get Out" was a Hollywood movie that it was going to be an attack on White Conservatism, when in actuality, if you actually WATCH THE MOVIE, "Get Out" is an criticism on White Liberalism, and a fair one at that. Notice how I didn't use the attack in that last part of the sentence. That in itself, is part of the problem. We are all on the defense at all times here in the United States, at least it often feels like it. We can't take criticism anymore, any criticism is an attack, and so we have to rebuttal with a list of criticisms on the other side to make us feel better about ourselves. Jordan Peele has made two great films about America in "Get Out" and "Us," and they are really important texts in order to understanding where we are right now as a nation.

Now, you can go ahead and add "The Hunt" to Peele's two movies, and get ready for a wild three-way feature.

"The Hunt" was originally supposed to be released in September 2019, but due to some mass shootings and President Donald Trump having a Twitter tantrum, the movie was pushed back. Can you guess why Trump had a problem with it? He saw a trailer and he assumed. You know what they say about assuming? It makes an ass out of you and me. Sure, you can watch the trailers and think that "The Hunt" is a Hollyweird attack on the Right. But that would be incorrect. It's not incorrect due to my political beliefs. It's not incorrect because I am trying to get you to see the movie. It's incorrect because its incorrect. If "The Hunt" is comparable to any movie in recent memory, it's comparable to "Team America: World Police." You know how Trey Parker and Matt Stone so astoundingly roasted the Right and the Left in that movie? That's what "The Hunt" does. We are living in a time right now where we love to push the buttons of our political opponents, even though we may not conscientiously realize that we have buttons of our own that are easy for the other side to push.

Is there really any value or really any entertainment in seeing a movie that roasts both sides? Is it better to pick a side than simply say you're a fool for caring? I would say maybe you're asking the wrong questions. You're not a fool for caring and yes there is plenty of value in seeing comments on the huge political circus that we are all seemingly incapable of escaping here in America. It can also be very entertaining. You could look at the ONLY the surface of "The Hunt" and see a movie about a bunch of Liberal elitists who get together to kill a group of "deplorables" that they've captured. But again, I say this with every ounce of importance, that's not the movie. "The Hunt" gleefully parodies the thoughts and ideas of the Right as it does the Left, but its also a very intimate look at how easily we are swindled and hustled.

For my money, the scariest thing that has happened to this country since Trump took office is that fringe opinions are slowly making their way into mainstream thinking. We have created a world where anybody can be "right" simply because they use conviction and it doesn't matter if they stretch truths or just downright lie. The word "fact" has been overhyped and overused to the point where it is meaningless. News seems to amount to attacks on the other political side, and if the other side argues it's "fake news." In fact, "fake news" is just anything we disagree with, because by God if that news shit-talks my side, its obviously wrong. We can't listen to our teachers anymore, because teachers are losers and they have nothing on my Google Ph.D. And we have to stop sending our children to college, because that's inviting them to be indoctrinated into the Socialist Communist elite of America, nevermind that Socialism and Communism are two different ideologies. It's so easy for news to take something so small and turn into something else by manipulation, and yes, EVERY SIDE OF THE POLITICAL SPECTRUM DOES THIS.

At the center of it all, "The Hunt" is just about a little story that gets blown out of proportion. Weird right? Yet it speaks volumes about what is going on in our country right now. What's been going on in this country since 2016. It's a movie where nobody is safe, and that's the point. "The Hunt" is like starring into a mirror and seeing what we've truly become and if we don't course-correct, who knows what's in store for our future. "The Hunt" is a giant metaphor, basically a running, sweating, kung-fu fighting, bloody-as-fuck metaphor. I don't think its nearly as deep as "Get Out" or "Us" and it certainly doesn't hit the same targets with the same precision. It is a blunt instrument trying to wake you up and on that level it works.

There are so many actors that roll through this movie, and they definitely make their presence known. I love the moments with great actors I have come to love over the years. People like Hillary Swank, Emma Roberts, Ike Barinholtz, Justin Hartley, Glenn Howerton, Amy Madigan, Ethan Suplee, and Macon Blair. Each actor is so amazingly good in their moments, that they really sell the thing. The movie hinges on Betty Gillpin. She plays a girl named Crystal, who was kidnapped and forced to defend herself against these elitist maniacs. But she's fighting and she's winning and once she figures out the game that is being played, she has secrets of her own that are revealed. "The Hunt" is her calling card, I haven't watched "Glow" on Netflix, so this is my introduction to Gillpin and she's amazing. She could be the next female action hero if that's the route she really wants to take, because she has a commanding action presence here. She's funny but she is also dangerous in this movie, and I assure you that you'll be rooting for her from beginning to end. 

Roger Ebert once said that movies are empathy machines, and that's one reason why I love them so much. I see independent cinema, which gives me a view into the mind of someone's ideals. I see international cinema and I feel I have a better understanding of the world around me. Even when you see a deep blockbuster, you can see how someone is reacting to something important to them. We don't have to agree, we just have to understand. Going and listening is part of that understanding, and it also leads to complexity. Politics is complex, we'd understand that better if we actually talked to people on the other side of things. I bet you think you know me politically off of this review, but I assure you, you don't. I have many friends from many political views, and when I think I have them figured out I am also dazzled by discovery. I know liberals who go to church every Sunday. I know liberals who own and like guns. I also know Republicans who support gay rights. Hell, I straight up know gay Republicans. "The Hunt" is a movie that is urging us to stop putting each other in boxes. But also taking our hands and asking us to really look at how the game is being played around us, because the real truth will set us free.

So please, learn what social satire is before seeing this movie. Learn the difference between an attack and a criticism before seeing this movie. Don't listen to any political pundits regarding this movie. See it for yourself, and be the judge. It's the most important movie you can see right now and it has the power to change our world for the better.

FINAL GRADE: A

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