ByPaul Donovan, writer at
A jerk with an opinion. An explorer of transgressive cinema. See more things about movies at
Paul Donovan

By turns humorous and chilling, this "mockumentary" should be required viewing for everyone.

1. This movie is an "alternate history" of the United States and is one of the most genius pieces of film-making I've ever seen.

2. It's presented as a British documentary (which is a spot-on parody of a Ken Burns film) documenting American history after the Civil War - which the confederacy won. Oh, I'm sorry. It wasn't called the Civil War. It was the War of Northern Aggression.

3. The movie weaves actual historical footage with re-created versions to make a seamless mix of reality and fiction, where slavery is fully legalized and abolitionists fled to Canada. As a consequence, America is a strict Christian nation that doesn't allow women to vote, and solved the immigration problem by making them all slaves.

4. It's presented as an "uncensored" TV event being shown in the alternate America, so it comes with "commercial breaks" that advertise slave shackles, drugs to keep your servants in control, among other things. But the crazy thing is, some of the "fake" commercials were advertising real products from the past - the movie explains that at the end.

5. Some of the brilliance in the movie comes in the almost unnoticeable details - such as a glimpse of a credit card called "Massacard". There are also famous quotes from historical figures that are given different contexts in this alternate America.

6. The movie not only gives an alternate version of America itself, but shows the effects it would have on real historical events. For example, America stays out of the war with Germany because they admire Hitler's attempts to make Germany white. But they still bomb Japan.

7. It was partially produced by Spike Lee. It was written and directed by Kevin Willmott, who went on to write Spike Lee's Chi-Raq.

8. The movie is absurd, chilling, funny, offensive - and believable. By trying to make it a neutral documentary, the movie will be interesting to people on all parts of the political spectrum. Those that wish the South really did win the Civil War will probably be just as fascinated as those that are glad they didn't.

9. It's impossible to adequately describe the brilliance of the movie. Exquisitely realized down to the finest detail, this movie explores American political and popular culture from a perspective that has never been seen before. It should be seen by anyone interested in American history or race relations.

What did you think? Brilliant satire, or offensive garbage? Let us know!


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