The main issue with Bushwick, and why the only people who may enjoy it are those who'd squeal at an appearance of Owl Juice Pub on Wyckoff, is a wavering tone. The situation inciting the action is grave, partisan views driving declarations of war, Americans killing Americans thanks to a right to bear arms. Milott and Murnion play into paranoia: like Lucy, few of us would be ready to survive war, let alone counterattack with provided weaponry.
Bushwick also strives to be a kick-ass midnight movie, with John Wickian bursts of violence that make you stand up and cheer. In one scene, a group of Hasidic Jews chuck Molotov cocktails at a wave of soldiers stuck in an alley. Later, Stupe and Lucy lead a mass of locals to take over McCarren Park in Greenpoint. Spurts of over-the-top, rah-rah retaliation are a blast, but Bushwick whiplashes back to the all-too-real all too often. Nothing kills the mood like a monologue about 9/11.
Maybe it'd go down easier if a new civil war didn't feel so... plausible. In their post-screening Q&A, Milott and Murnion mentioned that Rick Perry's 2009 comments about an actual Texas secession inspired their film. In response to chants of "secede! secede!" Perry replied, "If Washington continues to thumb their nose at the American people, you know, who knows what might come out of that."
As a run-and-gun actioner, Bushwick's a letdown. As a tour of Brooklyn sites, it's a fleeting high. But as a work of speculative fiction at a sensitive political moment, the movie's frickin' terrifying.