If you did not vote for the avowed rapist and white supremacist in 2016, but you enjoy reliving those feelings of pain and frustration, then James D. Stern’s documentary American Chaos is for you. Like The King from a few months ago — minus that film’s sense of hope — the director takes the pulse of America on a cross-country trip in the months leading up to that terrible election. It’s clear to be a rough ride early on when an upper-class MAGA twit (who comes across like an even more unctuous version of Bradley Whitford’s patriarch in Get Out) claims that “most sociologists agree” that 1957 was “the height of happiness in this country.”
We’re told we need to find common ground, but it’s damned difficult with mostly white people who genuinely believed that Hillary swore to confiscate all guns on her first day in office, or that Obama was planning to declare martial law to remain president. Or who, when faced with the utter lack of evidence of any voter fraud, still just shrug and say, “I don’t know. I just think there’s voter fraud.” Stern argues in American Chaos that we should still listen to them, and he’s probably right, but that doesn’t make it any easier to forgive them for the horror their ignorance created.
Opens Friday at the Opera Plaza Cinema.