The most controversial movie of the year that no one has seen will be released next month.
It was last fall when the Democratic party hopefuls for the presidency were staging their first rounds of debates. Held on CNN there was a slash of curiosity when thee network cut to a commercial break. Next on screen came an advertisement for what seemed to be a remote resort vacation spot. Quickly though it became revealed this was in fact a trailer for an upcoming motion picture, entitled ‘’The Hunt’’.
The horror-thriller displayed people being hunted by others, and it became revealed that the plotline was a group of well-off entitled class individuals were releasing a group of right-leaning zealots who would be tracked as game. While the exploitative nature of the film was not so troubling what was curious was displaying in juxtaposition with a party debate event. Crass timing to be sure, but also some cagey marketing.
However what promotional hype was garnered fell away quickly by real-life events. Some shootings had broken out in Texas and Ohio, and the belief was that displaying these scenes in advertising at that time was a bad PR move. Then the additional attention placed on the movie — something producers normally would invite — gave way to political propaganda.
Conservative pundits, and even President Trump, weighed in with commentary about what it meant to offer up the disturbing premise of conservative or even pro-MAGA characters being targeted as a group. While it can be argued this was trending towards the hyperbolic or at the least an overreaction, there was plenty of validity to this reaction.
In the months ahead of this trailer the Democrats had been on a mission to decry words being spoken by conservatives — and by President Trump in particular — as actually being threatening. We were told that Trump saying harsh rebukes towards Ilhan Omar, for example, were somehow placing the freshman congresswoman in danger. The press was more than happy to amplify this message, since many journalists had already been claiming that the president’s regular criticism of the media was placing them in harm’s way.
After all of these overheated claims of violent political rhetoric it would be hard to excuse away a film that actually portrayed the very partisan confrontation they had been dramatically wailing over. If particular phrases could be interpreted a certain way and claimed to be threats, the portrayal of targeted violence was a magnitude much higher, and the fact the threats were seemingly targeted at the right meant their outrage would be instantly muted.
Now the studio, Universal Pictures, has announced it has set a firm release date of March 13 for ”The Hunt’’. In all fairness, one cannot comment on the content unseen, and considering there are in fact some known Hollywood players involved here it would be sound to suggest there is a satirical messaging involved with the plot. Respected producer Jason Blum is behind the project, and he works with screenwriter Damon Lidelof, a big name and known for complex storylines. (His latest is the highly praised ‘’Watchmen’’ for HBO.) Blum explains they have not resorted to targeting one side of the political spectrum.
“None of us were interested in taking sides with this movie,” said the producer. Lidelof joined in, adding, ‘’We really don’t want to be pointing fingers, and more importantly, we don’t want to be wagging fingers at anyone for overreacting or reacting incorrectly. We just felt like the movie was being misunderstood.”
Next month there will be every chance for people from both sides to express dismay. Conservatives might say it is wrong to have a group dubbed ”deplorables’’ targeted for violence, while the leftist set can be offended by all of the gunplay portrayed on screen. The conjoined outrage may lead to copious amounts of free advertising.