The Oath: A Very Mixed Message On Political Extremism

The Oath is a dark comedy thriller film directed by Ike Barinholtz. The plot revolves around a family that comes together to celebrate Thanksgiving, however, in the political background citizens are being asked to sign a loyalty oath. This adds to the divisions of the family and leads down a dark path.

So, the first 45 minutes of this, before things got really crazy I thought were well done. It was a biting look at both political extremes, mocking both and showing how dedicating your life to any political belief is not a wise thing to do. I thought that a lot of the comments the film was making were incredibly current and on the money, frighteningly so; this is definitely an uncomfortable watch.

However, after the 45-minute mark things start to fall apart. When the government agents arrive at the home and Chris (Barinholtz), decides to take them hostage after a dust up thing get laughably dumb, and the smart edge that the first half of the film had is gone as the characters are turned into cartoonish caricatures. Also the ending of the film that sees Chris, who by the end of the film has become a true villain, get away with everything rather than face any kind of consequence almost feels like it is condoning or glorifying his behaviour, which feels counter to the point of the film.

Another issue with this film and others like it is that by focusing so much on the current political landscape the film feels dated and will not stand the test of time. It might feel worlds removed watching it in 2025.

Overall, it had something great when it started, but then it proceeds to ruin it over the last half of the film, making the lead unlikably evil and laughably dumb.

Pros.

The first half

The biting commentary

A very uncomfortable watch

Cons.

The second half ruins the film completely

The end feels like a justification when it shouldn’t be

The character goes from a relatable everyman to a political extremist

It will feel dated quickly  

2/5

Reviewed by Luke    

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