SkaneNoise’s review published on Letterboxd:
It’s hard to deny that this is a great movie even if it is as ignoble as fuck.
The film semi-skirts the issue of being a pro-confederate blow job by having a protagonist that starts off apolitical and only falls into war because he wants the admiration of a woman and only when he realizes his southern brothers are in trouble (because he overheard the ‘dirty dog’ Union Soldiers discuss their plan of attack) does he willfully participate in the war efforts for the true dirty dog confederates. One could argue his is a mission about humanitarianism towards his southern brothers that has nothing to do with the bigger picture. In fact, that may be why a film like this can still be loved because it’s easy to believe it has good intentions whereas Birth of a Nation cannot hide itself. But that may be a problem for me, the fact that it seems innocent (because it probably is innocent) but it promotes the very vulgar idea that confederate lives matter.
I’m not saying this isn’t a really solid film. It really does hit the ground running, it’s beautifully shot with some awesome camera placements and it has great gags and the basic story is solid as fuck.
But I really hate and have no room for humanizing the fucking confederates and I think movies like this and Gone With the Wind and Birth of a Nation, along with the egregious bungling of reconstruction (why every last motherfucking confederate leader’s head wasn’t placed on pikes lining and dividing the boarder of the antebellum south from the rest of a more civilized world I will never understand) are a big reason why the fascist right has such an imbalanced stranglehold on the political power of the “United” States federal government to this very day.
So, historically this movie is a marvel, but historically this movie is part of THE problem in America.
People have mocked the speech at the end of The Great Dictator for being too soapboxy, but we need more aggressive soapboxing on the side of righteous humanitarianism. We need to make our points to try and counter decades of ignorant and hateful entertainment that is often touted as just here to entertain but ends up reinforcing garbage bullshit and inhumane thinking.