Feature – USA / European Première
Bobcat Goldthwait / USA / 2011 / 105 min
When you live in an age where ‘talent’ is judged by a panel of fatuous celebrities, and the only real interaction people have is the water-cooler moment discussing who did what to whom on last night’s ‘The Only Way Is X-Factor Shore’, despair can quite naturally follow. This is what makes God Bless America so vital: Bobcat Goldthwait’s violent black comedy starring Joel Murray as Frank, a divorced, newly unemployed fiftysomething recently diagnosed with a brain tumour. Yet rather than kill himself, Frank decides to deliver his own form of retribution.
From the bludgeoning opening sequence, you can deduce this film is not about subtlety. Murray superbly embodies the world-weary crusader, cleansing the generation of unthinking, unfeeling consumers. Tara Lynne Barr is also shockingly funny as his sadistic, foul-mouthed teenage companion, Roxy. Yet it’s the script which makes God Bless America so hilariously trenchant. From the fearmongering mass media to the absurdity of the reality television culture, Goldthwait’s sharp observations keep the audience firmly on Frank’s side, no matter how gruesome things get. Though the film can at times become a touch preachy, feeling more like a platform for Goldthwait to voice his pet hates, this can be more than overlooked. A rare example of humour that is both in-your-face and refreshing, this is one for the refuseniks.
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