Hunter Biden is a great cinematic character: the loser son of an elite career politician who bounces between semi-powerful jobs on the strengths of his contacts and his name while inhaling mountains of drugs and banging prostitutes. How can you make a bad film about that?

Well, somehow the creators of My Son Hunter have pul actor-cum-rigled it off. Produced by documentarians Phelim McAleer and Ann McElhinney, directed by Robert Davi, starring Britishht-wing commentator and Reclaim Party founder Laurence Fox and distributed by Breitbart, the movie will please only people whose politics have compelled them to...

Hunter Biden is a great cinematic character: the loser son of an elite career politician who bounces between semi-powerful jobs on the strengths of his contacts and his name while inhaling mountains of drugs and banging prostitutes. How can you make a bad film about that?

Well, somehow the creators of My Son Hunter have pul actor-cum-rigled it off. Produced by documentarians Phelim McAleer and Ann McElhinney, directed by Robert Davi, starring Britishht-wing commentator and Reclaim Party founder Laurence Fox and distributed by Breitbart, the movie will please only people whose politics have compelled them to enjoy the thing.

The script is the big problem. Within the first few minutes of My Son Hunter, the viewer is beaten round the head with well-worn tropes of right-wing discourse. A newsreader reporting on violent Black Lives Matter demonstrations calls them “mostly peaceful protests.” Two protesters tell each other they are on the “right side of history.” Joe Biden smells a woman’s hair. You are expected to clap like a seal and say, “I get that reference!” The screenwriter think that you — the viewer — are that easy to impress.

The plot largely concerns Hunter’s laptops and the Bidens’s shady dealing with the Ukrainian holding group Burisma and the Chinese. I’m not going to dig into the truth of whether criminality was involved. After all, it is a film. The problem is that the plot has been constructed from an insane amount of smug, tedious exposition — largely delivered by poor, wasted Carano and a hulking black security guard who delivers lines such as, “turns out Devin got convicted for a conspiracy to commit security fraud against the Native American tribe of the Oglala Sioux nation, but he claims he’s not a racist.” No, it doesn’t sound any more natural when he says it.

Joe Biden is portrayed as being a sort of jovial, slightly comic mob boss — alien from the wide-eyed bumbling septuagenarian we see being manipulated through the White House today. I’m not sure John James, who plays Biden, has ever actually seen him.

Ultimately, Hunter’s #BLM bimbo friend — portrayed with artless earnestness by Emma Gojkovic — turns out to also be an expert on Chinese politics, just in time to lecture Hunter on his dad’s dealings with the Chinese. How convenient! She blows the whistle on the Bidens’s corruption, and, with the aid of a heroic Rudy Giuliani, returns Trump to power. Or does she? Well, you’ll have to watch the film and find out.

Surprisingly, the best thing about the film is Fox. Sure, his Americanish accent is quite bad (he’s no Hugh Laurie, that’s for sure). But he has a naturally sleazy bearing, making him quite an effective Hunter Biden, and unlike most of the people in this film he acts as if he wants to make a proper film. His Hunter Biden is not just a grimacing grotesque, but has a kind of boyish sadness hanging about him. I salute the effort.

Sadly, there is not much else to praise. The cinematography is so uneven that it gives the viewer whiplash. Some scenes are nicely lit and framed. Others — especially the “news” segments — have all the production quality of an underfunded YouTube video. Aside from Fox and Carano (who cannot be blamed for having little else to do), the acting is atrocious, though to be fair I am not sure Laurence Olivier and Meryl Streep could make some of these lines sound good.

I said that Fox behaved as if he wanted to appear in a proper film. What I mean is a film that exists as art as well as propaganda. I suspect that the creators of this film wanted to make a political statement and framed it in artistic terms — instead of wanting to make art that was also political. They really should have made a documentary. Nothing would have been lost and the point would have been clearer.

This is in fact the biggest problem with explicitly conservatives books and films. They are “conservative” before they are anything else — defining the limits of their artistic and commercial possibilities.

Ah well. I guess we’ll have to wait for that brilliant Hunter Biden biopic. Who do you think should direct it? I say David Lynch.

This review initially made two incorrect statements: (1) that a Secret Service agent had said “sounds like he’s in the water” when she had in fact said “Celtic is in the water” and (2) that it strained credulity to think that Hunter Biden would buy drugs on the street (in fact, he did, as detailed in his memoir Beautiful Things). The offending paragraphs have been removed and we regret the errors.