Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Film Review: Welcome to Leith (2015)


When a new resident arrives in a small North Dakota farm town with a population of 24 (including children), the people are naturally going to notice.  When they start to plant neo-Nazi flags and get the attention of the Southern Poverty Law Centre’s internal terroirism unit, the people are going to get scared.  When the new guy creates a website inviting his neo-Nazi friends to join him under the headline Cobbsville: White Supremacist takeover, the people have to take action… 

The two main antagonists in Welcome To Leith are Craig Cobb, a sweary narcissist who thinks that he is “one of the most famous racists in the world”, and Kynan Dutton, a self-proclaimed (mentally?) disabled veteran who desperately clings to his beloved National Socialist Movement membership: One the archetypal messianic martyr, the other a classic disciple.

The Extreme Right are a subculture of semioticians, obsessed with symbols, badges, crests, flags and costumes.  They speak in myths and metaphors – swords, eagles, the fatherland, bloodlines – and dedicate their lives to persecuting and harassing peoples whilst lamenting their own persecution.  They hide behind the first amendment and civil rights, whilst simultaneously talk about genocide for the ‘kikes’ and ‘niggers’.  They talk of ancient genetic heritages, whilst using their inbuilt Apple webcams to protectively record themselves upsetting quaint town council meetings.  Walking contradictions with low emotional intelligence.

Welcome to Leith poster
Dutton and Cobb on neighbourhood watch...
Dutton and Cobb have convinced themselves that there function as card-carrying White Supremacists is simply a mirror of the Jewish Defence League (JDL) and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP):  A political and cultural organization protecting the ethnic heritage of its members.  Yet through incredibly intimate access obtained by the film crew, it doesn’t take long to hear a cacophony of ugly racism and vulgarity spouted by the two idiots and their supposedly noble façade collapses.  The truth of the matter is that they are both just thugs with low intelligence, desperate to remain at the top of the ethnic pyramid in a changing America.

Cobb is not only narcissistic enough to let a film crew follow (and relentlessly incriminate) him, he also agrees to go on the talk show Trisha to have a blood test to prove his Aryan lineage… needless to say, it doesn’t go well.

Welcome to Leith is a fascinating story where the private and public lives of ideologues collide in a small town that only a documentary would acknowledge.  Whilst liberal Hollywood is baffled by the rise of #Trump2016 as they churn out TV and cinema set exclusively in California and New York – indie documentaries are showing the lives of Midwest America and how distant it is from the glitz and glamour of the coastal elites.


To get an insight into the hate-filled America of Clive Bundy, Micah Xavier Johnson and Dylan Roof, Welcome to Leith…

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