The diverse circle of women at the center of Sam Levinson’s bonkers social satire Assassination Nation rebels against the patriarchy with a unique blend of katanas and sisterhood after its members are blamed for a massive digital leak that spills their small town’s darkest secrets, but even the fiercest leaders of the resistance can fall victim to the pitfalls of lust. And EW’s exclusive clip from the film (above) introduces a simple (yet effective) mantra for everyone who’s been duped by a thirsty man looking for a quick fix.
“It’s amazing how someone so inconsequential can make you feel so inconsequential,” high schooler Bex, played by model and actress Hari Nef, tells her close friend Lily (Odessa Young) as she gazes upon a classmate, Danny, who scorned her after a night of passion.
Thankfully, Lily has a kernel of sage advice for bolstering Bex’s confidence: “F—k f—kboys! Hold your head high. Let’s do this,” she says with palpable swagger. Bex repeats the sentiment before the duo breezes past her crush.
“Lookin’ good today, Bex,” Danny’s friend says as she walks by. Without missing a beat, Bex responds: “Obviously.”
“Bex is somebody who’s lucky enough to…. gain a lot of power and a sense of belonging from leaning on her friends. I’ve definitely felt the same way at multiple points in my life. If Bex were a loner, she wouldn’t necessarily have that boldness, but [in this] beautiful scene…. she’s able to,” Nef tells EW of the film’s unique brand of companionship fostered between the focal foursome (fleshed out by performances from underground singer Abra and Suki Waterhouse). “I understand Bex deals with a part of this hot-button conversation everybody’s having right now, but all of the other girls deal with equally severe traumas [in the film], and what this film does…. [is show that] it all comes from the same place, whether you’re being called a slut or your womanhood is being called into question…. It’s not this conversation innately divided into different boxes. It can be, and in certain cases it should be when you’re trying o parse out certain kinds of oppression, but the oppression is…. all coming from a world where being anything other than a white, straight, cisgender man is to be partially or totally in danger and always vulnerable to violence.”
Following well-received screenings at Sundance and the Toronto International Film Festival, Assassination Nation is in theaters nationwide Friday, Sept. 21. Watch EW’s exclusive preview of the film above.