Cancel Culture couldn’t kill “The Hunt.”
A few conservatives joined a predictable chorus last August, arguing the pitch black satire shouldn’t see the inside of a movie theater.
The film supposedly showed liberal elites hunting “Deplorables” to the death. Pretty grim stuff given our divided times, but the First Amendment has its back. Plus, the filmmakers suggested we weren’t privy to the whole story.
Now we are.
“The Hunt” opened to disappointing numbers over the weekend, but the real surprise involves the movie itself. The film turned out to be tougher on the liberal characters than the so-called “Deplorables.”
Mild spoilers ahead.
Let’s start with the obvious. It’s the liberals who are killing people, which means audiences will instantly identify with the conservative characters just going about their business.
That element seemed clear from the very beginning.
Second, the screenplay paints these liberals as self-involved, hypocritical and cruel. They bicker, virtue signal and otherwise show no respect for open debate … let alone human life.
A sampling of Deplorables fare poorly, too, for those eager for balance. Some spout racist rhetoric, while others appear flat-out ignorant.
Yet the film’s unabashed hero is Betty Gilpin’s Crystal. She’s a Mississippi-born warrior who thinks three steps ahead of everyone else on screen.
End of Mild Spoilers.
Even the liberal Hollywood Reporter praised “The Hunt’s” attempt at both balance and, more strikingly, empathy.
All of that proved too much for Salon. The progressive site must know roughly 98.6532 percent of Hollywood product leans left. That’s not enough in a world where “The Hunt” exists.
Craig Zobel’s horror flick is a fantasy for the conservatives who want to believe they are victims, not victimizers
Tell that to the conservatives chased out of restaurants, colleges and other public venues, let alone right-leaning actors.
Salon whines that the original “Hunt” script showed blue-collar conservatives as the good guys, “suggesting the film always had a pro-conservative agenda.”
The horror, the horror.
Salon then flirts with siding with the film’s villains … the liberal elites … in the next part of the essay.
As I watched the film I made a mental list of the most prominent issues that they cited as justification for conducting a hunt: Gun control, global warming, anti-racism, immigration, gay rights. These are not issues in which each side is morally equal.
The review crashes into tin foil hat territory next.
It is why Trump depicted himself as the victim of a deep-state conspiracy — to thunderous applause — when he was investigated after his campaign colluded with Russia to defeat Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election, and did so again after he was impeached for trying to extort Ukraine into helping him defeat Joe Biden in 2020.
Did the writer peruse the Mueller Report or liberal journalist Glenn Greenwald’s essential, fact-based reporting on how the deep state spied on Trump?
In sum, the IG Report documents multiple instances in which the FBI – in order to convince a FISA court to allow it spy on former Trump campaign operative Carter Page during the 2016 election – manipulated documents, concealed crucial exonerating evidence, and touted what it knew were unreliable if not outright false claims.
Don’t forget the bottom line in Salon’s “Hunt” outrage. In a world where 19 out of 20 pop culture messages leans hard to the Left, a film daring to be different isn’t to be tolerated.
Finally, Salon isn’t a fan of satirizing how our political rancor is corrosive to the body politic, the whole point of the film.
“The Hunt” isn’t satire; it is propaganda of the lowest sort. If you agree with this movie’s message, there is something seriously wrong with your soul. Its only value is in helping dispel the myth of Hollywood’s supposed liberal bias.
“Supposed liberal bias?” Norm Macdonald could spend days on stage and not uncork a funnier line.
Vulture’s review of the film is far more measured, and thoughtful, but it does contain one howler.
In The Hunt, both sides are treated as equally foolish, South Park style, just snobs and rubes — which feels unbearably glib when the sins of one side are outrageously fictional and the sins of the other draw inspiration from real world examples like the Unite the Right rally and the Westboro Baptist Church.
The critic lumps Deplorables in with neo Nazis while pretending the Left lacks its share of villains.
Let’s spitball a few for the Vulture’s sake:
- James Hodgkinson (shot and nearly killed Rep. Steve Scalise)
- Gregory Timm (drove his van into a sea of Florida GOP volunteers)
- Rene Boucher (attacked Sen. Rand Paul, causing extensive injuries)
- Patrick Bradley (Assaulted several Trump fans, including a 15-year-old boy)
That list took all of five minutes to compile.
And let’s not forget dozens of similar attacks on ordinary Trump voters, the kind the media too often ignore.
It’s a shame “The Hunt” is a poor attempt at a satire we sorely need today. At least the movie accidentally generated comedy gold from a pair of film scribes.