We’re not going anywhere. We’re not going. White Power! Sieg heil!
In this riveting, troubling documentary, one of the tiniest towns in America, boasting a mere 24 citizens, Leith, North Dakota faces a surprising threat. White supremacist Craig Cobb moves into the quiet little town and, at first, arouses little interest until his plan becomes clear: he plans to move a large number of white supremacists into Leith, take over the town democratically (and thus completely legally), and set up, out on the North Dakota plains, a haven where neo-Nazis, fascists, racists and white supremacists can live in a society they control.
The documentary covers a little more than a year, beginning shortly after Cobb’s plans come to light. The struggle of the little town to survive this strange existential threat unfolds like a taut thriller. Go into this film knowing nothing and you’ll be on the edge of your seat. There’s a looming threat of violence over the entire movie, made all the more palpable by the fact that everyone in this town, including Cobb and his companion, a troubled Iraq war vet, has access to numerous firearms. The footage of the town council meetings are riveting and disturbing. A late sequence in which Cobb takes to the borders of his property to “patrol” with a rifle is one of the most suspenseful movie scenes of the year. Adding to the tension is a great rumbling industrial score. And the film is too smart to be just about one thing. Cobb’s entire plan revolves around staying within the law, so the town finds itself struggling to do the same – and when the Iraq veteran says that he’s being persecuted for his political beliefs and that he has the freedom of speech, your heart wants to loathe the man, but your head can’t help but agree with him. The film then plunges into the murky water of free speech, even, to use a cliché, guaranteed to those you disagree with. The film is a brisk hour and a half (maybe even a bit less) and it’s gripping, powerful viewing. Call this one an essential. 4 stars.
tl;dr – documentary details white supremacist attempts to take over small town; film unfolds like a thriller, taut, suspenseful, soaked in dread. 4 stars.