Patreon Movie Review: ‘Hillary’s America: The Secret History Of The Democratic Party’ (2016)
This Review was requested by a Patron from my Patreon Page.
Films based on politics, be it bio-pics or real life incidents, are always exciting. Getting to see the inner workings of real life politics is intriguing to any kind of an audience. Documentaries on the subjects further enhance that experience as they are (usually) based on actual information, provided by various real life people, through interviews and evidence to support whatever narrative the filmmaker is depicting. At least that’s what they should be.
★ /5 stars
‘Hillary’s America : The Secret History Of The Democratic Party’ is supposedly a documentary taking a look at Hillary Clinton’s run for President back in 2016, by a filmmaker whose bias is not only self admitted, but is as obvious as the demon eyes photoshopped onto Clinton in the movie’s official poster.
Before we get into the movie itself, I should make it clear that I am not a political person. I have no inclinations towards any party or ideology. This is stemming more from a willful ignorance on my part, rather than any informed choices. So my reaction of this film is based more on the merit of the content featured, and not critiquing or dismissing the political motivations behind the film itself.
Writer, Director, Narrator and over all star of this documentary, Dinesh D’Souza, decides to make a mixed media film, instead of a straight forward documentary. The movie starts with his own personal history of filmmaking, and a dramatization of the aftermath of his conviction for illegal campaign finance contributions. That first act featuring D’Souza himself in a renactment of his time in an overnight community confinement, is jarring at first, but becomes acceptable if seen from the perspective of an attempt at social commentary or some sort of satire. Solely because the scenes featuring D’Souza and some incredibly horrid actors playing the criminals, as D’Souza sets up a metaphor comparing neighbourhood gangs to the Democratic National Party of the United States Of America, comes off as intentionally comedic.
It’s hard to take a documentary seriously when it begins so comically and inconsistently. The opening sequences of real life footage from D’Souza’s conviction, juxtaposed with what is obviously a renactment of the community home, make it difficult to understand the format of the film, or what it’s about. Fictional? Comedy? D’Souza also initially seems to play the character of a man who is slowly clueing into possible misdeeds and manipulations by the Democratic Party on the American people, due to his illuminating experiences with his fellow inmates and their stories. This however, is completely contradicted by D’Souza himself in the opening seconds of the movie, as he theorizes that his unfair conviction is due retaliation for an earlier documentary he made, critisizing the Obama Administration. So clearly, he is not as unawares of the DNC as he makes it seem in the film.
Post the renactment, ‘Hillary’s America’ does play out like a more conventional documentary, with further narrative manipulation which, again, seem comical, but not by intention. D’Souza’s revelations of the DNC’s history, is intercut by even more reenactment of actors playing historical figures such as Andrew Jackson, along with D’Souza ‘discovering’ evidence of his claims in a hidden room of the DNC Headquarters themselves. And while his claims definitely seem interesting, and may have much basis in historical fact, he chooses not to share any of the sources, journals or first hand accounts from which this information may have been derived. Further reducing any impact his narrative may have had on the audience.
D’Souza’s thesis is essentially that that the DNC were responsible for White Supremacy in America through the creation of the Ku Klux Klan. He also posits that they opposed the abolition of slavery, fought against women’s & minority rights, and instead manipulated history to seem like progressive, forward thinkers. D’Souza further explores the inner workings of the DNC and how their history impacted the current landscape of America. The second part of ‘Hillary’s America’ jumps to Hillary Clinton, and her political career, especially the scandals surrounding Bill Clinton and his extra-martial affairs.
D’Souza proclaims that the Clinton’s political careers and ambitions have all been orchestrated from a position of manipulating the American public to gain access to the White House, and all to further their own economic gain. The Clinton’s scandals revolving heir foundation, misappropriation of funds for charity are well documented and have definitely been covered intensively by other sources. ‘Hillary’s America’ however, glosses over any comprehensive coverage of those issues, and instead just includes as just more ammonution for their claims against the Clintons.
The parts where the documentary gets a little distasteful, is when proclaiming that Hillary Clinton encouraged her husband’s philandering. That element of the documentary seemed less conclusions being drawn, and more information sourced from one’s gossiping aunt. It was just a lot of controversial information and claims being presented with, incredibly, very little sources or evidence.
While D’Souza’s bias seems clear, it’s perspectives such as these that I feel divides the general person between the party lines more so than anything else. A political documentary that manipulates the general audience for their own benefit, is typical of political marketing campaigns, and is not out of the ordinary. However, resorting to criticizing and dragging one’s family and personal into the debate, comes off as incredibly petty. These aspects of the documentary speaks more to the characters of the filmakers, than the subjects of their movie. And even though the status of an individual’s family life, personal relationships, and non political ideal is often used to gain political traction, attacking those same elements feels almost, wrong.
‘Hillary’s America: The Secret History Of The Democratic Party’ can be seen more so as an extended campaign advertisement, motivated with the intention sway public opinion during an election, than to relay or convey any factual information. The film posits poorly researched information, and glosses over topics that actually have merit, in favour of subject matter that is more commonly featured on a celebrity gossip magazine.