Video interview: Ike Barinholtz on hopping in the director chair for THE OATH

Video interview: Ike Barinholtz on hopping in the director chair for THE OATH

THE OATH is a movie that will definitely have people talking. The directorial debut of Ike Barinholtz is in some ways a great holiday movie (Thanksgiving specifically), a family drama, and a politically-charged thriller… all without ever defining any political party. Instead of breaking family members up by being either Democratic or Republican, the narrative revolves around a controversial document called “The Oath” that the government wants the American people to sign as a way of declaring their devotion to their country and its leaders. It’s a sort of “I’ll agree with my government” declaration, which of course leads to protests in the streets, and people very passionately being either for or against it. Sound familiar? That’s because it is familiar, just done in such a clever way that both sides can probably relate with feeling it’s making one look worse than the other. At the center of the story is Mason (Barinholtz), obsessed with watching the news and seeing the drama unfold on the streets, defiant toward anyone who signs The Oath, but in many ways just a big talker allowing himself to be very distracted but these matters. His wife Kai (Tiffany Haddish) keeps trying to get his attention away from the TV, especially since Mason’s family is coming over for a dreaded Thanksgiving dinner. As differing opinions merge for the holiday, some unexpected visitors take things into a very dramatic and dark area which will change the family forever.

If you’re familiar with Barinholtz’s work, you know he’s primarily known as a comedic performer, and THE OATH is definitely funny, but it’s so much more and so very smart in how it’s made. This may just be one of the best films of the year, though some may have to be dragged to it, fearing it’s going to paint their political views in a negative light… and that’s the brilliant part, it’s so incredibly political without defining Liberal or Conservative labels, and chances are either side could learn a little something from it. I had a chance to sit down with Ike and discuss the film, just before hosting a Q&A to a packed house. And I should mention… that packed house? They LOVED it.

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About the Author

Born and raised in Dallas, Mark has been a movie critic since 1994, with reviews featured in print, radio and National TV. In 2001 he started the Entertainment section of the Herorealm website, where he contributed film reviews and celebrity interviews until 2004. After three years of service there, he started, which has become one of the Dallas film community's leading information websites. Bigfanboy hosts several movie screenings in the Texas area, and works closely with film and TV studios and promotional partners to host exciting events and contests. The site also features a variety of rare celebrity and filmmaker interviews, and regularly covers the film festival circuit as well. In addition to Hollywood reporting, Mark has worked for many years as an advertising and sci-fi/comic book artist. Clients have included Lucasfilm Ltd., Topps Trading Cards, The Dallas Mavericks and The Dallas Stars. From 2002 until 2015 he managed the Dallas Comic Con, Sci-Fi Expo and Fan Days events in the DFW area. He currently catalogs rare comic books and movie memorabilia for Heritage Auctions, and runs the Dallas Comic Show conventions, but remains an avid moviegoer and cinema buff.