God Bless America (2011) Directed by Bobcat Goldthwait. With Joel Murray and Tara Lynne Barr.
Written and directed by American comedian Bobcat Goldthwait comes this tale of Frank (Joel Murray), a downtrodden sad sack of a man whose miserable and lonely existence away from an estranged wife and daughter is accompanied by insomnia, noisy neighbours, reality television in all it’s most evil manifestations and an ever increasing lack of patience. After losing his job and discovering he has an inoperable brain tumour, Frank decides he’s had enough of the ignorance and general lack of moral principles he sees permeating through everyday American life and sets about directly addressing the problem…with a gun.
Aside from the overly graphic and wanton violence, this is a film with a lot to say. It’s almost as if writer Goldthwait is himself getting stuff off his chest that’s been festering for years. Much of the dialogue is indeed bitingly funny, including some incisive rants about the pernicious nature of American Idol type singing competitions. The film does sometimes forget itself (one holiday montage sequence seems a loose fit) and some of the murders which Frank and his willing side-kick Roxy (Tara Lynn Page) carry out might threaten to cancel out the more intelligent aspects of the message for some.
What is certain is that God Bless America will divide opinion. Frank’s a walking contradiction, a liberal man who fights his cause with right-wing methods to find a stage to air his liberal views. This is a film for everyone who’s imagined but would never carry out. For those who want to instantly silence that barking dog down the street that’s preventing valuable sleep before that big presentation at work the next day. It’s for those of us who sit silently in cinema seats respecting other people’s right to enjoy the experience only to have ignoramus’s gibbering on mobile phones or kicking the back of your seat. While the film might draw criticism for it’s depictions and excessive”preachiness”, i found it agreeably acerbic. I wonder if Simon Cowell feels the same way. 4/5