Death of a President

Director: Gabriel Range

Reviewed by Paghat the Ratgirl

On October 19, 2007, President George W. Bush arrived in Chicago, where decidedly unpeaceful peace demonstrators were too numerous to control. "The only way of dealing with these kind of people," said the police chief, "is with brute force."

A work of fiction in realistic documentary style & very matter-of-fact, Death of a President (2006) looks enough like the news to be witty without ever treating the material in jest. At feature film length it makes sadly credible though all too obvious speculations that have less impact than a Daily Show one-liner. It is inherently a mocumentary, & while deadly ernest seems continuously smart-aleck or tongue in cheek.

Police create the requisit chaos out of what would otherwise have been a peaceful crowd of protestors. The police thereby facilitate the assassin's purpose.

Danny Williams "environmental nut" & presidential stalker is carted away having done nothing. And while police harrass anyone who isn't smiling worshipfully at the president, the assassin shoots.

Way too tasteful & quick, I'd hoped for some Zapruder type footage to at least be shown later in the film. Face it, the only reason anyone would watch this turd of a film is to see the minimal brain-matter of George W Bush get spattered. Having raised such a storm of right-wing protest for including the assassination scene at all, it's a complete disappointment to discover there's nothing much to it.

And since the director was going to be on the receiving end of a lot of Bush-worshippers' vitriol no matter how tentative & trivial the deplored scene might be, he should've at least made it as morbid & horrific as liars who never saw it claimed it to be.

After all, the detractors weren't going to rush out & buy copies, & anyone attracted to the film would inevitably want the controversy to have some application to the actual film. As it stands, it's all very superficial, & frankly dull.

The rest of the film is a sampling of misguided arrests of the innocent. Frank Molini (Jay Whittaker), full time activst, is quickly arrested for the high crime of protesting. Samir Masri (Seena Jon), Moslem American, is arrested for being Moslem. Casey Claybon (Neko Parham), a black vet, wasn't even protesting, but is arrested for being black & in the vicinity.

Since ultimately it is decided that a Syrian man (Hend Ayoub) was the assassin, it begins to look like President Chaney will prove willing to launch a military attack on Damascas. A new "Patriot Act III" removes the last vestiges of civil rights for Americans. The alleged assassin is tried & found guilty on the flimsiest of evidence, since he is in fact innocent.

As a work of sociopolitical science fiction it's entirely & properly cynical, all too plausible, but a mite obvious, & I found it at best adequate, the tepidity with which it developed it's controversial CGI assassination a total let-down.

copyright by Paghat the Ratgirl

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