WCritical provocation around a movie like My Son Hunter kind of feels like sending a kid fart from the back of the classroom into detention. Any action of reprimand means giving the troublemakers exactly what they want – participation, that is, attention, that is, validation. When your only goal is to get up from a perceived opponent, a calmer response means the game has begun.
In the case of clicking on the ear on the far right, like this fictional novel by Hunter Biden Laptop Nothing Burgers, writing in a semi-respected publication like The Guardian gives highly-ventilated Breitbart commentators all the ammunition they need to prove that the lib is fully operational and irrefutable. The truth is that the latest long-running conservative Peanut Show production doesn’t pose much of a threat to the public, as the foamy-mouthed partisan only speaks to those who really indulge in his theories and alienates the healthy majority during its opening minutes. It’s not worth the time or mental energy of right-minded citizens, but if the past decade of American politics has taught us anything, ignoring extremism doesn’t make it go away.
Thus the intrepid critic has no choice but to wade into the wet swamp of paranoia and conspiracy theorizing that is Robert Davey’s sophomore directing effort. (His only other credit was 2007’s The Dukes, perhaps most fondly remembered as Showgirls’ sleazy club owner who mused Elizabeth Berkeley, “It must be weird not to have anyone cum on you.”) in her tightly closed ideology, which Beneath all of Trump’s favorite talking points about alleged corruption in the Biden administration can’t be countered with real-world examples of his misdeeds, the film offers marginal maniacs a safe space. “This is not a true story,” said one Secret Service agent with a smirk, moments after a deep whiff of the incumbent’s hair. “Except for all the facts.” To ensure that self-aggrandizement from truth to power appears loud and clear, these words also appear on screen.
This line was delivered by actress Gina Carano, who is better known for the work she hasn’t done than she has done; Last year, in the wake of sharing an Instagram post equating the extermination of Jews during the Holocaust with the supposed persecution faced by American conservatives, separated from her role in the streaming series The Mandalorian and was banned from appearing in Star Wars neighboring media in the future. Her role may be minimal, but her presence is significant, and it’s a clear statement that we’re in a purging sub-industry that allows performers to encroach on “cancellation” (read: radioactive PR misfortune) to keep working. Take John James, the actor who portrays Biden who is remarkably Trump-like, a recent trivial filmography secondary to a failed bid for Congress in 2014 as a Republican. They all need an agreeable platform where their rough edges aren’t contested, in the same way that the increasingly reactionary John Cleese only shows his face in Roman Polanski’s new film.
Besides the cast, the film is bound up with everything it opposes rather than any single compelling belief. These cheating Democrats hate America and won’t be satisfied with it until the Republic is in ruins, a vital principle more enduring than the fuzzy spinning and cork fantasies passed incoherently as barefaced. The gist seems to be that the reckless commander-in-chief fails on Hunter, who, desperate to gain the approval and respect of his father, has made some backdoor deals with Russian oligarchs and left behind a laptop as a smoke cannon. Not to mention that the contents of said computer have been proven nonsensical, not caring that Russian state media have so eagerly embraced the kokami novels circulating here. Both Davy’s trend and the curious magnetic pioneer shifted from an “anti-political corrective activist” Lawrence Fox Hunter is cast as a persuasive and sympathetic character. At first, he looked absolutely gorgeous, a very partying sex machine that the camera looks at with an air of inexplicable envy in direct contrast to the intent to discredit him. But the latter half reveals the undercurrent of the tragedy behind hedonism, portraying him as the macho Fredo slapped by a life he never intended.
The film is safer under his fury with method or causes, starting with a news montage of violence raging during Black Lives Matter protests blowing and exploding on a racist whistle. This has nothing to do with Biden’s proposed crime syndicate, but like many of the buttons pressed, it serves to stoke embers of rage in supposed viewers excited to spend two hours grumpy in like-minded company. The grievance and schadenfreude mentality paired paradoxically is the only way to explain the more unusual flourishing, all of which suggest someone is laughing a little bit in an attempt to appear not crazy. After Biden finalizes a deal with distant relatives of Boris and Natasha Badenov, father and son embark on a festive montage that looks like the lowest-budget rap video in history (complete with hundreds of hundreds), interspersed with title cards that read “QUICK PRO ‘CROW'” and “Verification”. From the facts: True. So reall.”
Not actually having any sense of this is not a big deal; Modern right-wing thought has relied on sentiment across threads of reasoning for years now, asserting its efficacy as long as the right fears and resentments are exploited. Near the end of the movie, an inventive character named Grace (Emma Gojkovic, one of the less intrusive expressions of slave production as it was filmed in Serbia) gives dirt to Rudy Giuliani, resulting in a glorious landslide. The election of President Trump in 2020. It is a dream, of course, but his desire to defend is very real. Davy wants to take a run of victory without winning, so his only recourse is to build a small, secluded world in which he and his cohorts play the part of the winner. The creation of an alternate reality makes worrisome yet convenient, a toxic strain of Q-neighborhood prefecture that relies on portraying its co-stars as the hero and star of an epic drama they can’t see. “Perhaps, in the end, the truth itself became the fairy tale,” Grace says through the fourth wall. Whatever that means, sure, is good — but it points to the corollary that fairy tales have replaced truth for those sympathetic to this paper-thin movie.