Saturday, October 28, 2006

Movie Review: Death of a President

I watched Death of a President this morning. It was a good made-for-tv movie. It is in the style of a documentary, very much like Gabriel Range’s earlier made-for-tv movie, The Day Britain Stopped.

The story is predictable. Bush speaks to a friendly audience in Chicago, there are angry protesters outside, Bush leaves the hotel, someone shoots him, he gets taken to hospital and dies. The nation is shocked, and Cheney is sworn in as the 44th president. There are arrests, an investigation, and a suspect is charged and goes to trial.

There are interesting aspects to the film. One, of course, is the special effects. The appearance is that George W. Bush and Dick Cheney acted in the film. But more than that, what is interesting and provoking is the comment on the social and political Zeitgeist in The New Amerika.

The police have trouble controlling the protestors and use excess force, like in real life in Portland in 2003. One of the investigators later being interviewed admits to, while at the same time denying, racial profiling of suspects. The investigators admit to watching the movements and monitoring the communications of known protestors, whom they refer to as violent anarchists. And, most frighteningly, the US Patriot Act III is hurriedly passed in the days after the assassination.

The Miami Herald says that the movie “has nothing new or interesting to say”. The Boston Herald calls the film “a lame duck”. Fox News’ John Gibson attacks Gabriel Range and the premise of the film here. It’s an interview, Range is there to defend himself, and does so effectively.

My original premise before seeing the film was that it’s a movie – nothing for anyone to get their knickers in a twist about. I stand by that. Not only is Death of a President just a fictional story, it is also obviously a made-for-tv production and really does not deserve all of the hoopla that has surrounded its release.

But having said that, you should go and see it because it’s an interesting film. If you see it tomorrow at the Arclight Theater in LA at 5.10 pm, Gabriel Range will be there for an after-screening discussion. If you are in Prague and want to see the film, let me know – I have it on video.

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