Showing Nationwide. Premiering August 17 in Honolulu at the Regal Cole Cannery Stadium Theatres.
MOVIE REVIEW BY MICHAEL BERRY – The film is not, and should not be reviewed as, some sort of conservative Michael Moore effort. Far from it. Instead, it tells a story with a remarkable balance, and in a restrained, delicate way. It left me not angry at Barack Obama, or – to use a trite and inaccurate term – “hating” him, but rather, pitying the man. Pitying him in the way a victim’s family pities the man who murdered their daughter. Pitying him as a confused, sad, somewhat angry, hopeless man, struggling to become a man while fighting demons of a childhood filled with desperation. The theme of abandonment courses throughout Obama’s life in this narrative, told in the soft, polite voice of Dinesh D’Souza. While he’s wrought horror on America, the film tries to understand why.
D’Souza was born, graduated, and married in the same years as Obama. They are both Ivy League-educated, non-white, driven men. His first seventeen years in India provide him a unique perspective in understanding, almost sympathizing, with Obama. He looks at Obama in a way that few have, creating a new narrative on what drives Obama. It is an interesting, and frightening, narrative, but carried out subtly, without the heavy hammer of most documentaries driven by ideologues.
Obama’s early years are studied, without judgment. A young man emerges from the experience who is quite foreign to the viewer. He lives in Indonesia, raised by a step-father who grows distant from Obama’s mother as he grows closer to the American dream. Obama’s mother’s influence is underscored, particularly as the keeper of his father’s dreams. Obama is shipped back to Hawaii to be with his grandparents, who find a mentor for him in the communist agitator Frank Davis. He goes off to Columbia, where he seeks out mentors with radical anti-colonial, anti-Western, anti-Christian curriculum vitae. These men (other than his mother, they are always men) influence the introspective Obama as he grows into the quasi-intellectual he aspires to be.
All the while, he tries to reconcile the role of the father who abandoned him in his life. Powerful scenes of Obama returning to Kenya are simulated.
The narrative arc bends powerfully toward the obvious conclusion that Barack Obama shares different values, beliefs, and dreams from the typical American. Unlike Bill Clinton, among other Democrats, he seems to seek the downfall of America. That so much of the story is told literally in Obama’s words, with his own voice from the audio book of Dreams From My Father, gives it a haunting element.
Ed Klein’s The Amateur advances the theory that Obama is in over his head, an almost harmless bumbler who was hoisted into the White House on the dreams of his handlers. 2016 Obama’s America concedes that Obama’s success is largely due to the willingness of others – mostly guilt-ridden whites – to help him without questioning him. But the real thrust of D’Souza’s movie is that Obama harbors an anger toward Whites, Christians, and the West, and that his agenda is far more frightening when that is understood.
The film manages to stick to its core focus, without chasing rabbit trails, and offers a unique narrative style. D’Souza is almost an adult Carmen Sandiego, on an international journey of study to find out who this man is and how he came to be that man. His constant movement throughout, with phone calls to various sources (his call with Shelby Steele is the highlight of the film) makes a journey we all share with the narrator himself.
D’Souza is a gentleman scholar. Both of those elements define this film, which, if watched by every American, would change the direction of this nation. Even many Democrats will vote down Obama if they give this film a chance.