Ike Barinholtz’s ‘The Oath’ started great. It’s Thanksgiving, and his character Chris, a liberal, has to deal with the family during the Holidays, including a brother and sister in law who are fierce conservatives. In this deeply divided America, we can all relate. I myself do not want to face some Trump-supporting relatives that I may have to face. The film had a potential of commenting on how people reacted to each other during this heated political climate. The first half of the film did just that, when Chris circles around his family and how they deal with the fact that US citizens have to sign an ‘oath’ declaring their love of the country – with added benefit of tax break. But then the Chris character started to really come unhinged and the film takes a nasty turn, turning more violent, undecided if it wanted to become a thriller. The change of tone was very disconcerting, and it lost me after that.
I also can’t remember if I had seen Tiffany Haddish in any film since her breakthrough, and she is pretty muted here, which I thought was interesting. In the beginning parts, she is effectively subtle, and I thought to myself, she is a much better actress than I thought, and even has an effective dramatic scene. Ultimately, the film is a wasted opportunity for me, with only half of it being effective.