AMERICA (2014)



Directors: John Sullivan and Dinesh D’Souza
Writers: Dinesh D’Souza, Bruce Schooley and John Sullivan
Cast: Dinesh D’Souza, Don Taylor, John Koopman, Barack Obama
Studio: Lionsgate

“America” is the latest Dinesh D’Souza that your Aunt from Iowa can’t stop talking about at family gatherings. His last documentary about Obama’s America turned out to be nothing but fear mongering. The film spends its first third trying to defend why America is important to the health of the world. How the country influences everyone and how dirty Liberals are trying to undermine the nation’s point of strength. All the while, there are attempts to connect every imaginary ill to one root cause. Well, two root causes by the end of the film. For a Neo-Con, he almost goes an hour without blaming Hillary Clinton for something. Talk about restraint.

Much like the first documentary, this documentary is a filmed straw man argument. So much of the film is spent focusing on how minorities don’t have it so bad. His attempt to deny the genocide of the Native American population was laughable at best. For being a minority filmmaker, Mr. D’Souza spends so much time trying to convince his base audience that he’s one of the good ones. It feels like a cop out and it should leave a disgusting taste in the mouth of the minority groups that he alienates in order to appease a fickle crowd. But, that’s been the M.O. of all Neo-Cons of the Modern Era.

D’Souza spends so much of his time in rebuttal mode, that you almost begin to feel that he seems guilty about something. While he does give a passing mention to his arrest for illegal campaign contributions, D’Souza sets up the incident as a witch hunt. The documentary filmmakers spends so much time slavishly devoted to late 18th century ideals of right and wrong that he doesn’t even begin to consider that being in his current position undermines his view. If we didn’t live in a country where we could amend and update our beliefs, then Mr. D’Souza would be left to the wiles of the British Empire. Not everyone gets to be Gandhi in a deluded Right Wing fantasy.

The rise of these kinds of films and the fact that major theater chains will still find room to play them bothers me. It bothers me in the sense that I live in a lower Top 50 market and I still have to struggle to find rather major indie films playing near me. Louisville still gets odd fare playing from time-to-time. But, we’re always guaranteed to have two screens showing this claptrap for some time. While an audience exists for this nonsense, I hate that it comes at the cost of better films getting proper coverage. For shame, America.


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