“Assassination Nation” (Neon)

By Catholic News Service

Writer-director Sam Levinson’s messy teen-age satire devolves into a heavy-handed morality tale about our online lives, dark sexual secrets, scapegoating, public shaming and mass mayhem.

The film, which evokes the witch trials in 17th century Massachusetts, stops short of being exploitative, but not by much. The leader (Odessa Young) of a jaded group of teen girls (Hari Nef, Suki Waterhouse and Abra), is blamed for a series of hackings that expose her town’s seamy side and becomes the target of mob rage.

Considerable violence with some gore, involving gunplay, torture and suicide, drug use, strong sexual content, including two implied nonmarital encounters, aberrant behavior and an adultery theme, a pornographic image, explicit dialogue, frequent rough language. The Catholic News Service classification is L — limited adult audience, films whose problematic content many adults would find troubling. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R — restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.

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