Viewing your Watchlist and recommended content requires Javascript

  • 15
  • Comedy, Crime
  • 2011

God Bless America

Film4 God Bless America

Synopsis

A stressed-out loner decides to go on a killing spree with a 16 year-old outcast, ridding America of unpleasant people in legendary comic Bobcat Goldthwait's black comedy

Critic's Review

There's gallows humour and then there's shooting a baby in the face in the first five minutes of your film - that's Bobcat Goldthwait for you, kids. The famously squeaky-voiced comedian has a bone to pick in his latest film, God Bless America; and not just with noisy babies. This is a razor-sharp cuff about the ears for a callous generation but thankfully it's also more than just infanticidal fantasy; it's a super-smart diatribe on the ills of modern America.

Frank (Joel Murray) is losing at life; his wife has left him, his daughter has turned into an entitled brat and now he's lost his job. Oh, and he's dying. He's had enough of the worst people having it the easiest and he sets out for a little violent catharsis, acquiring a precocious Patty Hearst-loving protege on the way. Frank isn't really a bad guy - he's determined only to do in those he deems deserving of death (racists, homophobes, the cruel, the intolerant and the greedy) but Goldthwait's hilarious script still has time to shred the likes of Vladimir Nabokov, Woody Allen, Glee and Diablo Cody.

The opening scenes lay the groundwork for Frank's descent into sociopathy and they're littered with ridiculous parodies of TV talent and reality shows, interspersed with Office Space-style pathos and awkward peeks into his miserable life. The pace picks up considerably when disenfranchised teen, Roxy, appears on the scene. Played by Tara Lynne Barr, she delivers a tirade of intelligent barbs like a hail of bullets and provides most of the film's best laughs, as well as its emotional pivot.

The unashamedly direct script seems to delight in nodding to its various influences. The spirits of Falling Down, Pulp Fiction and Natural Born Killers are all invoked but this is too much fun to be derivative. While it might provoke knee-jerk horror, this is as patriotic a film as you could hope to find - it's just that it's yearning for an America trapped beneath a crust of cultural crappiness. Goldthwait clearly loves his country and he's put together the best propaganda in favour of equality and common decency recently committed to celluloid. If nothing else, this is probably the most uplifting film about callous acts of violence you're likely to see this year.

In a nutshell: An excellent film that picks up where its predecessors left off, blazing trails for a new era of American satire. What it lacks in delicacy it makes up in energy, drive and hilarity.

By Terry Mulcahy

Cast & Connections

  • Actor: Joel Murray
  • Director: Bobcat Goldthwait
  • Screen Writer: Bobcat Goldthwait

Latest from Film4...

  • Film4

    Carry On Jack

    Bernard Cribbins, Juliet Mills and Kenneth Williams star in Gerard Thomas's 19th-century high-seas romp, the first of the Carry On comedies to adopt period costume.

  • Film4

    Sherlock Holmes And The Secret Weapon

    Basil Rathbone, Nigel Bruce and Lionel Atwill star in director Roy William Neill's Second World War spy adventure.

  • Film4

    Youth on Film4

    Michael Caine, Harvey Keitel and Rachel Weisz star in Film4s first play of Youth, from acclaimed director Paolo Sorrentino

  • Film4

    Young Adult on Film4

    Charlize Theron and Patrick Wilson star in Young Adult, playing on Film4 for the first time.

Register with Film4.com

Personalise your Film4 experience

  • Set film reminders
  • Build your watchlist
  • Get film suggestions

or Register

Interview

Share