A Film Review By Jeff Fro
|Starring: Gil Kircsh, Renee Patrick
Directed By: Kevin Wilmott
In the format of a British documentary, this satirical look at a very different U.S.A. is an interesting idea with just marginal execution. The premise is that the South won the Civil War and that even today our national economy continued to depend mostly on the use and sell of slave labor. It is a loaded topic to be sure. But this film takes the idea only to one level and then fails to follow through in all of the areas it could have explored to a greater effect.
The film plays like a History Channel documentary. Every few minutes there are parody commercials that use racial labels and tag lines for the products and the results are sometimes cute, but mostly cringe worthy.
We are treated to talking head “experts” telling the story of how the South won the war and the subsequent effects on the country and the economy. These lessons are re-enacted in some cases and those segments have lower production values than even a real History Channel program. All black people in these segments are played by white actors painted in “black face” like they just came from an Al Jolson impersonation contest.
I found a segment about an exiled President Lincoln on the run in the underground railroad with Harriet Tubbman to be the most interesting and entertaining. It only lasted about ten minutes though and then we were back to stories of world wide economic sanctions and attempts by the C.S.A. to conquer South America.
If I were a History buff I might have enjoyed more of this, but I am also sure that if I knew more historical specifics I would have seen many more flaws with this film as well.
What I felt was missing was how this change in History would effect every average man and woman. I would have been much more interested in seeing an average family household today living with the effects of those changes. A film like that would not have to spoon feed each of its points to the audience, it could just let allow us to witness the changes and connect to the realism of how our own lives would be different today if the South had won. In some ways it may be similar, but the ways in which it would be altered could in some ways be curiously humorous and horrific all at once. This film missed that opportunity.
The biggest flaws presented were the presumptions that if the South had won the war we would still own slaves in this day and age, we would continue to outwardly support all forms of racism, and that we would have been a political contributor to Adolf Hitler in WWII. All of those things seem hard to comprehend, even if we had extended our use of slavery past the end of the Civil War.
I can’t really recommend this film unless you are a big American History fan, and maybe not even then.