Thursday, May 20, 2010

Death of a President (2006)

The assassination of the most powerful leader in the free world is examined in this controversial mockumentary from British filmmaker Gabriel Range. On October 19, 2007, president George W. Bush is visiting Chicago when he impulsively stops to shake hands with supporters en route to a meeting, while a throng of protesters demonstrate nearby. Shots ring out, and Bush is fatally wounded. As America and its allies deal with the tragic loss of their leader, vice president Dick Cheney is sworn in as the new chief executive, and while he takes the reigns of the nation and pushes new and aggressive anti-terrorism legislation through Congress, the Federal Bureau of Investigation steps into action to track down the gunman. As Secret Service agents and law enforcement officers share their thoughts on how the murder of the president could have been avoided, and people around the globe discuss how Bush's death has tipped the delicate balance of relations between the United States and the Middle East, a Syrian Muslim activist living in Chicago, Jamal Abu Zikri (Malik Bader), is charged with the murder of the president. While no "smoking gun" connects Zikri to the crime, a wealth of circumstantial evidence points to him as the gunman, and he's tried, found guilty, and executed in short order. However, lingering questions persist as some wonder if the F.B.I. found the right man with the right motives. Created using a combination of newsreel footage, computer-generated images, and newly staged material, Death of a President (aka D.O.A.P.) received the International Critics Prize at the 2006 Toronto Film Festival, despite negative reaction from many American political commentators, many of whom were deeply offended by the film's depiction of the assassination of Bush, the sitting U.S. president at the time of the picture's production and release. ~ Mark Deming, All Movie Guide

Theatrical Feature Running Time: 97 mins
Death of a President (2006)

The one special feature of the DVD was a compilation of interviews with the director and others about the film and specifically why they felt a sitting president should be the subject of an assassination film. While I got a better picture of why they did it, it still did not excuse the fact that it glorifies something that would be just as damaging to the USA as 9-11 (IMHO). The obvious reason to do it was because of the ability to use archival footage of news reels and to create a sense of reality that a pure fictional account would lack. So in that sense it had to be created as it was. The actual gun shot scene where the President gets hit, was very well done as it was the real president and then with in a few frames it appears as if he really gets shot and is falling down. I went frame by frame and was amazed at the technical skills for the transition.

The director states that maybe he will do one with Tony Blair but that never materialized. Wonder if he will do one with Obama? Not like he does not have his haters already too. No I am not one of them-although dislike is right up there.

The film is not really kind to all the people that would be likely to assassinate a president even to KKK members, al-Qaeda, war protesters and anarchists etc.

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