Trump’s America: A Warning From Cinema
Since announcing his intention to run for the presidency Donald Trump has been insulting his way to the White House, offending everyone from Hispanics to women. It has gotten so bad that his own party has disowned him and whenever something goes wrong Trump has a tantrum on Twitter.
To non-Americans, Trump's candidacy is hilarious yet very troubling and his supporters have been fanatical - made worse by Trump suggesting them to act violently
and threatening riots on the streets
if he doesn't get his way.
Since there is a possibility that Trump might become President of the United States, let's look what some movies that could show us what Trump's America could look like.
One of Trump's first policy announcements was to build a wall across the border with Mexico to keep the 'evil' aliens outs. In the 2010 sci-fi movie Monsters
the United States achieve this, building a thick, tall structure designed to block alien creatures that had landed in Northern Mexico and turned that part of the country into a no-man's land. The Mexican and American militaries are battling the creatures and the wall was meant to prevent them entering America. However, Monsters
showed that building a wall would have some faults, mainly that it would require a lot of maintenance and the creatures will find a way through the wall.
The 2013 adaptation of World War Z
, Game of Thrones
and the anime series Attack on Titan
also show that building a giant wall will only lead to the population developing a false sense of security.
In keeping with the theme of giant walls being built, Neil Marshall's B-Movie homage, Doomsday
is set in a world where Scotland suffers an outbreak of a flesh-eating virus. To prevent it spreading, the British governments seals off Scotland by rebuilding Hadrian's Wall that by 2035 has automated weapons that kill wild rabbits and isolating Scotland from the rest of the world. While the wall does work at keeping people in Scotland it fails to prevent a viral outbreak in London and the building of the wall ends up making the rest of Britain a pariah state.
Machete first appeared in the Spy Kids
movies and got his own movie after the popularity of the fake trailer in Grindhouse
. Writer/director Robert Rodriguez described Machete
as a Mexploitation, a homage to blaxploitation movies from the 70s as it sees its hero, Danny Trejo's Machete Cortez moves to America after his family is murdered by the leader of a drug cartel and ends up involved in a political conspiracy that includes a racist Texan senator wanting to close the border and deport Mexicans - essentially advocating Trump's policies - but really in league with the Mexican drug cartels. Actions that happen in this right-wing climate include vigilantes killing Mexicans crossing the borders, Machete being hired to assassinate the senator and Mexicans in Texas start to form their own resistance groups.
Children of Men
Loosely based on P.D. James' dystopian novel Children of Men
depicts a world where no children had been born for 18 years and leads to the world falling into war and chaos. Britain survives by developing an authoritarian government that enforces strict law-and-order and has Trump's dream immigration policy - banning anyone coming into the country. If any immigrants are found they are locked up, put on public display before going to Bexhill-on-Sea which has turned into a war zone and eventual deportation. Despite these draconian laws that keep this version of Britain working as a functioning state, terrorist attacks are constant and the countryside is a lawless death trap dominated by aimless youths.
Neil Blomkamp has developed a reputation for being a political filmmaker as well as making sci-fi movies. His most overt movie is Elysium
tackling themes of immigration and healthcare, two issues Trump has been vocal about. In Elysium
the rich have abandoned Earth and live on a satellite in luxury and have special machines that could heal any aliment. The Spanish-speaking population left on Earth risk life and limb to try and make it to Elysium, going up in makeshift spacecrafts, getting shot at by the security and rushing to the machines if they can make it to the space station.
On Earth people live in poor housing, have to modify ancient technology, suffer robot police brutality and workers are treated like expendable commodities. And of course, healthcare on Earth is basic compared to what the people on Elysium receive. Because of this situation, political instability erupts on Elysium and Earth.
is not so much an example of what America could be if Trump does become president, it's now more an indictment of politics as it is now. Mike Judge's satire sees an Army private/average American, Joe Bauers who volunteers to be frozen for 500 years - when he awakened, American society has taken a massive downturn, where people are anti-intellectual, buy corporate products, speak poor English and have elected a wrestler as president. After taking an IQ test Joe ends up being declared the smartest man in the world and is tasked with the job of solving all the world's problems.
Dr. Strangelove: or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
In the beginning of August, 2016 MSNBC's Joe Scarborough reported Donald Trump asked a foreign policy expert why couldn't America use its nuclear during an hour-long foreign affairs briefing. You don't need to be an expert to understand the principle of Mutually Assured Destruction and Trump has advocated that Japan, South Korea and Saudi Arabia should develop the bomb.
There have been many great films about nuclear war including Fail-Safe
, The War Zone
and The Day After
, but the best showcase of Trump's nuclear policy would be Stanley Kubrick's dark comedy Dr. Strangelove
. In Dr. Strangelove
two mad American generals attempt to launch a surprise nuclear strike on the Soviet Union, taking the nation out before they could respond. What ensues is fighting in the war room as the President Merkin Muffley and the Joint Chief of Staff, along with the Russians attempt to stop World War III. However, it would be worse with Trump in charge because he would be the Commander-in-Chief.
Vladimir Zhirinosky, an ultra-nationalist ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin has threatened nuclear war if America does not vote for Trump - so giving voters the choice between nuclear war and nuclear war.
The Stepford Wives
It is far to say that Donald Trump's views on women are troubling, to say the least, made worse from the various recordings and allegations made against him. Even if Trump survives the scandals, it is safe to say Trump does not like strong women who stand up to him. A cinematic world that Trump would be more comfortable in and possibly like to see is The Stepford Wives
', an adaptation set in a 'perfect' community where men are married to women who fulfill their every whim. But there is a catch: the wives are robots.
The Handmaid's Tale
While The Stepford Wives
is a chauvinist fantasy it was meant to be a satire and comedy. The Handmaid's Tale
is darker and more serious examination of a patriarchal society where women are used as sex objects. Based on a novel by Margaret Atwood The Handmaid's Tale
is set in the ruins of America after a nuclear war, resulting in a religious fascist government being formed. In this world most of the population are sterile, so the few fertile women are rounded and conditioned through religious dogma and physical beatings to be sex objects and baby factories.
When The Handmaid's Tale
was first published it was argued that the scenario set up in the novel would never happen in America - well Atwood has a different view now.
Seven Days in May
Assuming Donald Trump does win the Presidential Election opposition would form very quickly, ranging from the Congressional organization, grassroots action, judicial challenges and many other avenues for people to challenge politicians. Perhaps the biggest warning would come in John Frankenheimer's political thriller Seven Days in May
, made as part of his loose Paranoia Trilogy.
Seven Days in May
was set in 1974, 10 years in the future from when it was originally released and shows the President of the United States signing a nuclear disarmament treaty with the Soviet Union. However, the American Military establishment does not trust the Soviets and fear that it's a ploy so that the Soviets could launch a sneak attack. A warning if Trump attempts a rapprochement with despots like Vlamdir Putin or Kim Jong-un.
The 2013 action movie White House Down
also shows a coalition of right-wing politicians, rogue Secret Service agents, disgruntled former military personnel and racist militiamen working together to stop President Jamie Foxx from achieving peace in the Middle East.