Sunday, September 2, 2012

2016: Obama's America - A review...

I fulfilled a promise this morning.

I went to the movies and watched Dinesh D'Souza's film, 2016, Obama's America. The friend, a staunch conservative had encouraged me to watch the movie a week or so ago, so that I might learn more about "...exactly who Obama really is."

The theatre was the Cinemark Miami Valley located in Piqua, OH. This is in Miami County, OH and for perspective, this County voted 62.23% in favor of John McCain and 34.67% for Barack Obama in the 2008 General Election. It is an agricultural and factory work, conservative, heavily Caucasian, Christian area. I had no illusions that there would be many Obama supporters there. For the early bird showing today, there were about 30 people in the audience. All whites, mostly between the ages of 45 and 70. I spoke briefly with the General Manager of the Cinema, Joe Swietzer, who informed me that the movie is drawing as they expected, which was fairly modestly. It was meeting the projections they had set for it. No more, no less. Swietzer confirmed that it was catering to older audiences.

The movie ran 89 minutes long. It was beautifully filmed and scored. As the film took us to places like Kenya, Indonesia, etc., the cinematography was exquisite. The soundtrack and background music was culturally authentic and was expertly recorded. *(CorrectedThe director of the film, Dinesh D'Souza, makes his debut in this film, worked with producer Gerald Molen, who's work is widely regarded with such credits to his name as "Schindler's List," "Jurassic Park," and "Rain Man." 

(*A bit of a botch-up here. This sentence, as pointed out to me by a reader, was missed during the proof-reading process and was quite simply wrong. D'Souza isn't an esteemed film maker. The original, mistaken line is here: The director of the film, Dinesh D'Souza, is widely regarded as an esteem film-maker and craftsman. Mea Culpa.)

I will say that from the beginning frames of the film I found the use of the images and music to be constructing  an ominous tone. As a professional musician myself, it is not difficult to transmit emotions via music and of course, images. If there had been no dialogue in the movie whatsoever-just a series of images-the clear message of this film would have been one of danger and fear. Make no mistake, this was never meant to be an impartial film. D'Souza has a message and a perspective to convey and he did so with a very high level of execution. Production wise, this is a powerful film for its type.

Now to the content. The basic premise of the film is that America in 2008 was a nation of a mostly unsatisfied electorate, who badly wanted something different in their Presidential leadership. Barack Hussein Obama was that "something different." Simply put, a black man with a relatively short public record was able to charm the voters into handing him the highest office in the land. The film suggests that it was far more of a seduction than anything intellectual that propelled him into the White House. D'Souza spends the first half of the movie transcribing a timeline of sorts of Barack Obama's origins, including those of his father, which is a central theme throughout the film. We are introduced to the life and ideology of his father in Africa and Hawaii and some of the anti-colonial people he circulated with. The seeds of Obama future plans to essentially downsize America into an "equal partner in the world", we are told, are planted during this time.

We're then introduced to several key figures who have been influential in Obama's life other than his father. We meet Frank Marshall David, Bill Ayers, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, etc. and all the baggage that goes with those names. I suggest interested readers google any of those names and decide for themselves how clear and strong are the alleged connections with Obama and how they are, according to D'Souza, heavily influencing the trajectory of a second term for the President.

The premise that a young man growing up without a father, is under some natural compulsion to pursue an approval of sorts, albeit symbolic in nature. Certainly growing up with out a father has an impact, but whether one believes that Barack Obama was so effected by this absence in his formative years, that he cunningly devised a long-term strategy to exploit his situation and use it to become President is up to the viewer to decide. D'Souza would have you believe Barack Obama is the greatest sleeper agent in the history of the world.

I don't dispute most of the factual information presented in the film. I have major reservations and outright issues with how some of these facts are interpreted. Again, there's an agenda with this film. The mission statement for this film might well have been, "...let's make a movie, based on real life events and relationships. Let's twist many of these events to serve our narrative. That Barack Obama is out to fundamentally transform  our Country into something most of us wouldn't recognize. Let's construct enough scary and foreboding scenes and images in the film that for the person perhaps on the fence, this might give them enough emotion input to push them our way."

This film is not a mind-changer, in my opinion. Only the most non-discerning, uncritical viewer would likely walk away feeling NOW they know the rest of the story about Obama. It is 89 minutes worth of one film-makers explanation of the life and motives of the President. For those who already dislike Obama, this film is an affirmation. For those who support the Obama, it is most likely a bit of an unfair hatchet job. For many in the middle, we'll see. Those who can realize when their emotions are being played upon will have a very different reaction than those who can not.

I have to imagine, any accomplished film-maker with a comparable budget and resources that D'Souza had, could easily create a similar production depicting Mitt Romney as an evil man, who is setting out to damage America. I'd put this movie in the same class of much of Michael Moore's work and the internet film, "Three Things About Islam". Some truth, some lies, some unfairness. In a theme I find myself repeating quite often of late-the burden is on us as consumers of information to develop our senses enough to know the difference between pablum (i.e. baby food) and prime rib. Not all food is the same, nor obviously is cinema.

In summary, I felt 2016: Obama's America was a well crafted, deliberately mis-leading production with rather large simplifications of various facts. If what you want is easy to swallow content that plays to a certain narrative, this is what you got. If you were looking for a more intellectually honest examination of Barack Obama's history and ultimate intentions, you'll not find that here.



  1. I stopped reading here, at your third paragraph: "The director of the film, Dinesh D'Souza, is widely regarded as an esteem film-maker and craftsman."

    That you might not know of D'Souza and his history is, well, fine. There's always the google.

    But this? This statement you simply made up out of whole cloth. He is not an "esteemed film-maker."

    He is an author, not a film-maker. This film is his first ever, based upon his controversial book, "The Roots of Obama's Rage."

  2. @Ktward-Actually, its worse than you suggest, its sloppy proof-reading on my part. The sentence(s) should have read...

    The director of the film, Dinesh D'Souza, makes his debut in this film, worked with producer Gerald Molen who's work is widely regarded with such credits to his name as "Schindler's List," "Jurassic Park," and "Rain Man."

    Not sure how I missed that whole sentence, and am frankly surprised no one else pointed it out prior to your comment.

    Mea Culpa