Dinesh D’Souza made a polemic-camouflaged-as-documentary into a hit a couple years back with “2016: Obama’s America,” an anti-Obama film that went over big with the base and garnered $33 million in theaters. Can he do the same with a film that has the earmarks of a polemic-camouflaged-as-narrative feature?
Reuniting with “2016" producer Gerald Molen, D’Souza has directed “America,” a counterfactual history that imagines a world in which George Washington is killed in battle and America, thus, never exists.
A new teaser, which D’Souza debuted at CPAC on Friday (you can watch it here), hints at the tone, a rather grandiosely gestured look at historic American moments that the film then suggests would never have come to pass had Washington been killed by a British bullet during the Revolutionary War. Current events -- and D’Souza’s outspoken opinions thereon -- are not included in the material, though the trailer suggests they’ll be there in the film as a voice-over intones: “Imagine the unimaginable: What would the world look like if America did not exist?” The movie opens on July 4.
After years as a conservative commentator and author, D’Souza moved into filmmaking with “2016,” a movie released during the heat of election season in the summer of 2012 that posited that the president has ambitions to reduce the power of the West. The film garnered a higher-than-average amount for political documentary, though it also played in far more theaters than most such films, at one point topping 2,000 screens.
More recently, the director has faced legal battles — he’s out on $500,000 bond for alleged illegal campaign donations and will stand trial on May 19.
Though D’Souza’s aims have historically been more partisan than narrative, his new movie does tap into a TV vogue for imagined Revolutionary War history, with Fox hit “Sleepy Hollow” and the upcoming AMC series “Turn” both offering their own spins on the period.