Set largely in a New York hotel room in 2016, “The Misogynists,” from filmmaker Onur Turkel, follows people on various ends of the political spectrum on election night. The film focuses mainly on Trump supporter Cameron (Dylan Baker) a depraved, prostitute loving money man living in a 15,000 dollar a month hotel room post divorce, and his co-worker Baxter (Lou Jay Taylor) who has a liberal wife, Alice (Christine Campbell,) whom he is tempted to cheat on, and two young daughters.
The film is almost a marriage of the work of Aaron Sorkin, David Mamet’s famed “Glen Garry Glen Ross,” and Neil LaBute’s “In The Company of Men;” but it unfortunately never quite reaches the notes of anything as memorable or groundbreaking as the aforementioned.
Though Turkel cleverly crafts small pop-in characters that include feminist sex workers, a Mexican hotel worker with a penchant for cocaine, a slightly racist African-American hotel guest, and some additional obnoxious wealthy businessmen, they never really amount to much, and I never quite grasped what the film was ultimately trying to say other than “Trump is trying to ruin the world,” or “Trump supporters are crazy.”
The lone visual symbolism I noticed was Cameron’s TV playing everything in reverse, which I believe was the filmmakers’ way of showing us what he thought to be a political walk back that took place post 2016 election, erasing the progress liberals had made up until that point.
In the film, the reverse image on the TV transfixed anyone who looked at it, to me this also seemed to be a commentary on who Donald Trump is, a mesmerizing figure; though I’m unsure if this was the intent. American’s either loved or hated the polarizing candidate, Trump, but neither the lovers or the haters could look away from him.
It reminded me of when Joe Scarborough made a Trump bashing song in 2016 while he still thought Trump was a joke candidate; despite his effort to vilify him, he shone an accidental light on him, like all mainstream media did, inadvertently causing the mockery to work in reverse. Their efforts ultimately ended up making a spectacle of Trump, leading to his election in 2016, and subsequent inauguration in 2017.
I understand this film’s attempt to paint the large divide between Trump supporters and liberals, but it seemed one-sided, as most films with a political slant tend to be. Cameron’s creepy, misogynistic behavior says more about him as a person, and not much about him as a “typical Trump supporter,” which is what I think the film was trying to portray.
The habits and unhealthy behaviors of wealthy, obnoxious Caucasian business men are nothing new, and did not draw a congruent line between Cameron’s character and his political beliefs, so that angle, for me, ultimately fell flat. I asked myself, if the film is trying to show the new Trump political spectrum as dangerous, narcissistic, sociopathic, drug addled money men the script needed to dig deeper and explore a new framework.
Maybe the setting needed to move more out of the hotel room to get a point across that never came. This one may work as a stage play, but struggled as a feature.
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