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Friday, April 19, 2019

Quick Take: The Oath

The Oath (Ike Barinholtz, 2018) might have worked better as a straight drama, but even so, boy, was this incredibly effective and chilling. Maybe it won't look so funny in a couple of years. Imagine if your government asked all citizens to sign a "voluntary" loyalty oath--how long could you hold out in a climate of rising fear and mandated conformity? In The Oath, the idea is played for laughs, but there's a real undercurrent of genuine terror here. I find it very interesting that the protagonist, the lone holdout in his family actually snaps under the pressure at one point, but only briefly, and the film quickly moves on. I think this was pretty smart filmmaking; Barinholtz is telling us that having all the moral high ground in the world isn't much help when a brownshirt goon is threatening to break your arm into a half-dozen pieces.

Also, considering this movie and his role in the Supergirl TV series, Bruce Boxleitner is in danger of being typecast as the Vice President that gets suddenly elevated to the presidency in the wake of scandal.

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