Rocky Mountain Pictures
Unrated, 0 stars
While 2016: Obama’s America may be a shameless pro-Romney conservative con job on the part of right wing media pundit turned director Dinesh D’Souza during this heated election season, the movie critics either boasting about or blasting him can hardly be said to be demonstrating political neutrality on this matter themselves. In other words, is there anyone out there who can rise above being either a red state or blue state movie critic when it comes to political documentaries in such a divided nation?
And as someone who, by way of disclaimer, is in no way thrilled by either presidential candidate – a feeling shared in fact by the vast majority of Americans who vote ‘neither’ every election year – I guess that would qualify as neutral, relatively speaking. So let’s take a look at 2016: Obama’s America for what it has to say – or doesn’t – as a documentary, and not the messenger, no matter how manipulative he may be.
The primary thesis of D’Souza’s documentary is that Obama has a secret plan, which will only come to light if and when he is assured of reelection. And which is to implement in this country his own absentee African father’s socialist and anti-colonialist politics. And thereby pander to his supposedly extremist supporters on the left.
Okay, implied pro-Republican, alarmist presidential sentiments aside, any concrete evidence in yes, the real world, indicates the opposite. First, the youth responsible for sweeping Obama to first term victory, have by now been disillusioned enough to desert the ship in large numbers. Exemplified most obviously by the Occupy Wall Streeters, who have become so demoralized that they’ve decided to be totally against any government at all.
Then there’s Obama himself. Whatever secret guilty pleasures, political and otherwise, that he may harbor, Obama has proven himself to be an opportunist who has reneged on nearly every populist campaign promise he made. And while moving about as far to the right as any Democrat can be, from invasions and assassinations abroad, to subsidizing bankers and an attack on civil rights at home. Along with a pro-corporate heath care plan mandating mass subsidizing of the medical insurance companies. And as far as D’Souza’s implication that Obama is covertly in league with Muslims around the world because his father was one, the last time I turned on the news, Muslims around the world were burning Obama’s effigy because of an entirely different movie now making the rounds on Youtube.
But one key element of 2012: Obama’s America offers clues as to just how deceptive and misleading, not to mention crafty, D’Souza can be. Which by the way, has nothing to do with politics at all. And that’s his pretense of placing urgent cell phone calls to his investigators. Who will provide the big reveals that never incidentally, materialize.
So while D’Souza paces about on his cell phone, his helpers are actually being recorded by sophisticated camera and sound equipment but pretend not to be, as is D’Souza himself in fakery mode. And by all accounts, straight out of the seeing is not believing school of filmmaking.
The verdict on 2012: Obama’s America? Zero stars. Primarily because infomercials—and this one is hardly the first to be smuggled into movie theaters lately— don’t and shouldn’t count as actual documentaries.