- Product Rating -

Art House Asshole : Welcome to Leith

| December 2, 2016

You know how when you’re wanting to go to the movie theater and you look up all the films that are showing and there are alway at least three that you’ve never heard of, let alone have any interest in seeing? Well, good news! I’ve seen those movies. I spend most of my theater experiences in art house theaters watching those movies that you’ve never heard of and then never watch. Yeah, I’m that hipster asshole. My goal with this is to spread information out about these films, that way you can decide one of the following. “That actually sounds pretty cool! I want to see that now!” or “Man, I’m glad I decided to go see the new superhero movie!”. So without further ado, here is my article and review of Welcome to Leith.

As a heads up, I’m dedicating December to Documentary Films. Sorry if you hate documentaries and or the month of December. But that’s what’s going to happen.

I think horror is a fascinating genre. I think the same thing about Documentaries. When the two blend together, I usually have a good time. This is exactly what happened with this film in particular. Welcome to Leith tells the story of the small town of Leith, North Dakota. Leith was a quiet, nice, and friendly town. No one was really interesting, but they were happy. Then a white supremacist came and decided to buy out the land of the town and turn it into a Neo-Nazi World Hub, forcing the town out of their own homes. That’s right. It’s the same thing that Ray Croc did. But instead of Hamburgers and French Fries, it’s Swastikas and Hatred.

The film is attempting to tell you something that isn’t as obvious as you might think. Yes, Neo-Nazis are really bad. And what this guy is doing is absolutely disgusting. You see him talk about his beliefs and they are shocking. You read what he has written online and that’s even worse. The subject matter of this film is honestly disturbing and haunting. That being said, he never did anything illegal for the most part. The takeaway for this film isn’t “Nazis are bad.” Everyone already knows that Nazis are bad. And as interesting and haunting as the story is, that isn’t the point. If you just wanted to tell a story, you make a narrative film. This was made because the point isn’t that “This is bad” but that “This is legal”. That is what makes this film impactful. The film is showing this to you as a way of saying “This shouldn’t be legal, but currently it is.”

Another aspect of this film that should be mentioned, is that the film isn’t just bashing Neo-Nazis throughout. The film is clearly against Neo-Nazis, as it should. But it doesn’t appear to paint the rest of the town in a glowing light either. You are on the side of the town for most of the film, or at least you should be if you aren’t a Neo-Nazi. But, despite their clear hatred and bigotry, the Neo-Nazis are just living for most of the film. They are flying their flags and are clear in their plan to take over the town. But when a fight breaks out, they are not the ones who start it. The real horror of these people is their control and their organization. At one point in the film, one of the Neo-Nazis says “I want to kill these people, but I’ll wait until they hate me enough to kill me.” Which is scary, but his completely legal.

You also see the town, and rightfully so, fight back and try to stop what is happening. At one point, and spoilers I guess so skip to the next part of the review if you don’t want spoilers, but they burn down one of the Neo-Nazi’s homes. With all of this, I thought to myself, what would I do if I was in the Neo-Nazis shoes. Now hear me out on this. I’m not a Neo-Nazi. But if I was living in a town, where everyone was a Neo-Nazi, but I believed in equality and whatnot, I would be pretty pissed and think it would suck if they burned my house too. At one point at the end of the film, the main guy tells the camera crew “I just want to be left alone. Why can’t they just let an odd old man be to himself”. Which is a good point. I’m not for the man, but the film does show the perception of his sympathy, whether the filmmakers intended that or not.

I can’t remember if it was in this film or another, I watched this as a series of multiple films on Neo-Nazis and white supremacy, but there is a quote that says “The biggest key in fascism is victimhood”. And part of what this film does is give both sides victimhood. You see each member of the town outside of this conflict. You also see members of the Neo-Nazi movement outside of this conflict. The film humanizes the Neo-Nazis to a point that would make some people uncomfortable. It is really easy to look at Neo-Nazis as cartoon villains. But once you see them raising their kids and see them beyond their horrible beliefs, that’s when the horror really sets in. Because that’s when you realize they aren’t that different from you.

About the Author:

Henry Jarvis is the youngest member of the Reel Nerds. His favorite films include Space Jam and Dude, Where’s My Car? and Lawrence of Arabia. He enjoys those pretentious art house films that Ryan hates. He sees a lot of movies! Honestly more than he should. He replaces his lack of social skills and meaningful friendships with his love of cinema! He’s also crying while he writes this biography for himself. His favorite directors are Andrei Tarkovsky, David Fincher, and David Lean.
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