Anthem (2004)

"Bad"

Anthem (2004) Review


Pretty much the only reason I picked up this DVD off the stack was that it has essentially the same theme as an awful little movie from 1997, which claimed to be a documentary investigating "if there's anything that truly connects us," a road trip in which a couple of oblivious filmmakers hit the road in search of celebrities to tell them what to think.

And here comes this film, which asks the surprisingly similar, absurd, pointless, and ridiculous question, "what does it mean to be an American?" In this one, a weird-looking guy decides to go to France to find the answer, relying on his personal talking-headness (mainly remembrances of his pal "Joe") and non-sequitur archive footage to tell his story.

But this is the kicker: Both of these films have the same name!

Look, I know there are no new ideas in the world, but if you're going to make a silly documentary like this you should at least have the common sense to investigate your predecessors so, you know, you don't use the same title.

But Dean J. Augustin's heart is in the right place, I suppose. He's really concerned about this "What is an American?" issue -- using his sister's claim that she'll move to France if Bush were to win the 2000 election (whoops) as a launching pad. But a strong will just never translates to a strong movie, and someone really should have told Augustin that supremely awkward scenes of him talking on the phone, droning endlessly to the camera, standing in front of various landmarks, and goading people into reading the Constitution just do not equate to a good film. Anthem is just 50 minutes long, and it's never enlightening for one minute: Augustin's pal Joe, who answers the "What is an American?" question by saying "You're born here and you die here" is actually less trite than Augustin's whiny analysis of political history and the two-party system. It's almost beside the point to mention that, from a technical standpoint, Anthem is amateur and awful, with atrocious sound and video that looks like a child shot it.

Even though I'm a steadfast independent who agrees with Augustin that the two-party system is a corrupt mess that needs to be killed, having anybody watch Anthem is probably the worst way to convince them of that argument.



Facts and Figures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 1.5 / 5

Cast & Crew

Director: Dean J. Augustin

Producer: Dean J. Augustin

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