Film Review: Hillary's America

Ben Miles Reviews - Theater

Dinesh D'Souza's latest piece of political propaganda, "Hillary's America: The Secret History of the Democratic Party" is called a documentary, but it is so contrived – through the use of bargain-basement reenactments and convoluted accusations – that it seems more like a celluloid caricature of the Clintons, both Hillary and Bill, than a credible testament to the couple's alleged serial misdeeds; more like an obnoxious Hillary-alert bulletin than a reasoned argument against what might be called the Clinton agenda.

It begins with colorful, if skewed, opening graphics showing maps and historic personas, while suggesting a lurid history attached to the Democratic Party and the Clintons. Then the film transitions into the tale of D’Souza’s 2014 conviction for making illegal contributions to the New York senate campaign of Wendy Long and “causing false statements to be made to the Federal Elections Commission.” D’Souza pleaded guilty to one felony count of making contributions in the names of others. He was sentenced to eight months in a halfway house (known as a "community confinement center"), paid a $30,000 fine, was given five years probation, and has to perform eight hours of community service every week of the probation period. D’Souza claims that the charges and the conviction were retribution by the Obama Administration because of the unflattering 2012 film by D’Souza, “2016: Obama’s America.”

After frontloading the movie with reenactments of his time in federal confinement – full of shifty prisoners and smirking guards – D’Souza, subsequent to learning the art of the con by fellow incarcerates, segues into an indictment of the Democratic Party, paralleling the con game played by crooks with the tactics of the Democratic Party. While the Republican Party’s founding is associated with Abraham Lincoln, who here, in a hagiographic portrayal, is made to appear as an absolute abolitionist (he was not), the founding of the Democratic Party is traced to the seventh president of the United States, Andrew Jackson. Jackson is shown as a cruel, slaveholding tyrant. According to D’Souza, the past is present in the practices of the respective political parties today.

Democratic Party legends and luminaries, such as former Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daly and thirty-sixth president of the United States Lyndon B. Johnson, are displayed as cigar-smoking,  backroom dealing political bosses whose characters seem more stereotypical and generic that accurate and specific.

But it is when D’Souza at last gets to the Clintons that the film bursts with innuendo, implications, and none-to-so-subtle attempts at character assassination. Bill Clinton, it is suggested, is a serial sexual predator, Hillary is condemned as an unpatriotic left-wing conspirator. Their mutual motivation is “to steal America.” From whom and for what is never made clear. But it doesn’t seem to matter. What does matter, at least in D’Souza’s mind, is that the Clinton’s aim to undermine America – a bold accusation coming from a convicted felon who is still on probation.

Hillary's America: The Secret History of the Democratic Party" is playing at select theaters and will soon be available on VOD. It's one hour and forty seven minutes in length.