The first time we catch a glimpse of the titular hero of “My Son Hunter,” a chaotic low-budget agitprop flick that conservative website Breitbart released last week, is seen walking into a Los Angeles nightclub ( the film, in fact, was shot in Serbia, a kind of Los Angeles of the mind.) In the back photo in what stumps to seem like a one-shot, like a cut-price Henry Hill entering the Copacabana in “GoodFellas “, Hunter Biden, the president’s son (played by British actor Laurence Fox), makes his way through the room; sniffs a line of cocaine before grandly, albeit inexplicably, throwing more than half of it on the floor; and enters a VIP room, where he begins telling everyone what’s what. “My friends, it’s time for the fucking party!” he explodes, as he settles down to watch exotic dancers frolicking under the watchful eye of a host named Lorenzo, who decides, as is often done at a strip show, to announce their pronouns to the audience before the start of the performance. At one point, a dancer named Kitty breaks the fourth wall, “The Big Short” style, turning to the camera and saying, “Don’t judge me. I’m doing this to pay off my college debt.
This is the America liberals want, the film seems to suggest: powdered drugs; club rats who are picky about their confusing gender identities; scantily clad dancers abandoning their dignity as women to afford an education (wait, whose fault is that?). But “My Son Hunter” has higher ambitions than offering a cultural critique of bawdy Democratic cosmopolitanism. His stated intention is to expose the alleged corrupt business relationship between the President and his son. The film promises to include, among its revelations, “Sex, prostitution, drugs, cronyism, money laundering, no more sex, a laptop from hell”, without forgetting “Chinese spies, “men of business” Ukrainian” and “the sale of America.” As they say, don’t threaten me to have a good time!
Hunter, now fifty-two, has lived a life full of trauma. When he was very young, his mother and little sister died in a car accident. then, in 2015, he lost his brother, Beau, President Biden’s eldest son, to a brain tumor. For much of his adult life, he struggled with drug addiction and alcoholism. (“It’s an endless tunnel,” he told this magazine, in a 2019 profile. “You don’t get rid of it.”) And yet, in recent years, there has been a fascination generalized for the most sinister. elements of Hunter’s saga, which read like a combo of prime-time soap opera “Dynasty” and punk history”please kill me.” There is his romantic relationship with the widow of his late brother; his 2019 marriage to Melissa Cohen, a woman he met a week before the wedding; the bacchanalian prostitutes and crack lovers who sent him zigzagging between luxury hotels and flea market motels; and the Arkansas woman who sued him for the paternity of his child in 2019. From a narrative perspective, these tales positioned Hunter as the juicy libidinal alternative not just to the Trump kids desperate for the approval of Dad, but also to the sleepy bloodlessness of the Biden Ticket itself. (As a friend of mine once tweeted, “Hunter Biden is our generation’s S. Thompson hunter.”) In October 2020, twenty days before the last presidential election, a cache of leaked emails and photographs was added to the mess. The files, found on a laptop that Hunter apparently didn’t salvage from a Delaware repair shop – and which was later seized by the FBI – pointed to a life mired in drug use, wild sex, conflict family and convoluted affairs.
The laptop, which Hunter and his attorneys have yet to confirm or deny belonging to him, was first reported by the New York Job, while mainstream news outlets treated it with skepticism. (Recently, it emerged that Twitter and Facebook had also suppressed the story ahead of the election, fearing it was part of a disinformation campaign.) Conversely, Donald Trump supporters believed that the files were a “smoking gun”. — evidence of President Biden’s improper involvement in the trade deals his son made with Ukraine and China. The laptop also serves as the narrative location of “My Son Hunter,” a heady brew in which Hunter’s weaknesses are seen as mere trappings of a deep political conspiracy that goes all the way to the liberal pinnacle. It’s a story that, according to actor Dean Cain, in an interview at the film’s premiere, “needs to be told, and it hasn’t been told by the mainstream media.”
Cain, whose most memorable role was the male lead on ABC’s “Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman” series in the mid-’90s, has become better known in recent years for his conservative views. Although he is not part of the cast of “My Son Hunter”, his profile matches that of several central actors of the film. These include the film’s director, Robert Davi, a singer and actor best known for playing heavyweights in films of the 80s and 90s (a tough crooner in Richard Donner’s adventure “The Goonies”; a sleazy strip club owner in Paul Verhoeven’s beloved ‘Showgirls’ turkey”), but who has more recently found his craft as an online Trump booster; actress Gina Carano, who was fired last year from TV show “The Mandalorian” after posting on Instagram a comparison between the supposed persecution of American Republicans and that of Jews during the Holocaust; and Fox, who played the son of a Marquess in 2001’s ‘Gosford Park’ and who, twenty years later, ran for mayor of London under his own ‘Reclaim’ party, which seeks to fight the politically correct, and won 1.9% of the vote. None of these numbers are what you would call an A-list, which makes “My Son Hunter” feel like a conspiratorial film on at least two levels – Hollywood’s betrayal of of those wannabes of industry consistent with the alleged deception of the American people. by the president and his son. The offended and brave vibe of the project reminded me of the star power gap that was Trump’s inauguration.
Technically, Davi’s film rollout was confusing and inept. Although “My Son Hunter” prides itself on being a film that liberals “don’t want you to see”, it often seemed like Breitbart didn’t want me to see it either: access to the film lasted several hours . Via Dolorosa of error messages, unsent “watch codes”, and seemingly endless login attempts, all for the rather hefty price of twenty-two dollars. (So much for the efficiency of private enterprise.) This reflected the chaotic nature of “My Son Hunter” itself, a satire-cum-thriller-cum-melodrama-cum-propaganda-amateur organ, often batshit, if very occasionally vulgarly amusing. , which switches between modes with the dizzying unexpectedness of a surreal cutup. Hunter’s character is a laughable degenerate, but the drawn-faced fox has little of the Hunter’s questionable good looks and charisma. Still, he’s a cowardly, cowardly, crack-smoking horndog who adores the good life, as evidenced by the wild party he throws for a dozen strangers in his bungalow on a plateau supposedly representing the Castle. Marmont. . (His verification of John Belushi’s name—“[He] died in the neighboring bungalow. . . . He had demons” – oddly clashes with what the film conceives of as the famous bohemian luxury hotel, with corporate art on the walls that looks like it was borrowed from a Radisson in Dubuque.) To heighten the chaos, animated elements sometimes invade the screen, such as when a small dog of one of the party guests sprouts thought bubbles in which he introduces himself to Hunter as “Shirley” and warns him that everyone in the room are “freeloaders”, or when a cartoon image of a frantically beating ticker flashes across the screen to represent Hunter’s heart after he makes a line, only to being shown in a confused manner to slow his rolling after he takes a crack hit.
Much like his son, the President (played by former “Dynasty” mainstay John James) also seems in a near-constant state of inappropriate excitement, repeatedly sniffing the hair of his Secret Service agent, played by Carano, and referring to Tara Reade, the assistant who accused him of sexual assault, as “a smelly young lady”. Based on no real evidence, the film also portrays the elder Biden as a criminal don who receives kickbacks from the shady international deals his son orchestrates. (“Of course, better still have my separation!” he tells Hunter menacingly, at one point.) One particularly insane sequence intended to illustrate this corruption involves the two Bidens dancing with a trio of oligarchs Ukrainians and a prostitute as dollar bills rain down on them and a “rap” track sounds. (Among the lyrics chosen: “That’s how we play . . . I cut my hoes.”) To top it off, Joe is also, simultaneously, a senile nincompoop, which refers to the laptop of Hunter as a “top lop” and doesn’t remember anything about “Corn Pop”. (“He was a villain!”) Large swathes of the film are devoted to puzzling “re-enactments” of Hunter’s dealings with Ukraine and China, scenes that look more than a combination of Wikipedia-style summaries. with very bad wigs. “It’s a country that shares its eastern border with Russia. And this eastern territory is rich in fossil fuels, so Russia wants it badly,” Carano’s secret service agent helpfully explains.