Death of a President
(R, 1:36:57, Released 2006)
|Genres:||Mystery & Suspense, Drama|
|Release Date:||Oct 27, 2006|
|DVD Release Date:||Apr 3, 2007|
|Starring:||Hend Ayoub, Brian Boland, Becky Ann Baker, Robert Mangiardi, Jay Patterson, Jay Whittaker, Michael Reilly Burke, James Urbaniak, M. Neko Parham, Seena Jon|
|Directed by:||Gabriel Range|
|Synopsis:||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, Rovi|
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My Friends' Reviews
Other Top Reviews
November 6, 2010
Overall, it was just too much to be enjoyed. Arab suspect, war protesters... just too unimaginative. Now, the use of real footage of Bush and Chaney was interesting in my trying to figure out of that was just public domain material or what. How they used real people, that I am sure did not cooperate in the making of the movie, was the most interesting aspect of this movie.
August 31, 2008
Death of a President is a fake documentary, not a mockumentary, dealing with a President George W. Bush assassination situation. It has received multiple awards from various film festivals, but I fail to really see why. It can't be because of the highly political topic can it? Anyway, this film also has the R-rating. I assume this R-rating stems from the politics and racism because it sure isn't from the language and violence.
Does this film feel like a documentary? Yes, it does. Many different elements come together to create a realistic TV special report. That also means the bore factor for most people will be high. Not even the George W. Bush assassination is enough to keep the interest level up, but yes this is probably the part of the film that most people will be waiting for. It doesn't happen in the beginning either, which is what many will believe. The film actually takes the time to explain the events that lead up to the assassination and then go on to tell the story of the investigation that follows. In that sense, the flow is nicely done.
The acting is pretty believable, but other than the fact that you know this is a false documentary, there is still that little something that indicates that the interviewees are actors. Another good aspect of the film is that there are a few characters that speak Arabic. What would an assassination film be without terrorism right? Anyway, Hend Ayoub is the most believable actress in this entire picture.
While Death of a President does have an interesting premise, unless you like politics and 90 minute CNN specials, this will not entertain you.
March 23, 2008
This movie is SO interesting. The format is a dead-on copy of the contemporary historical documentary I've seen so much of, and the interviewees craft such intricate and nuanced characters. Underneath this brilliant examination of post 9/11 American culture lies a really engaging story. Bush himself is peripheral and his assassination is really just the backdrop for a much more personal narrative. This "documentary" is really something special.
July 30, 2007
Nice piece of speculative fiction, but it would have been better had the filmmakers actually had an agenda. As it is, it comes off as just a reflection of how corrupt the system is - as if we need reminding?
November 9, 2006
[color=DarkRed][font=Arial]It?s been called morally reprehensible and obscene. Theater chains have refused to even touch it. The White House is concerned it will spawn a deadly array of copycats. The controversial movie in question is a little independently produced mock documentary about the assassination of George W. Bush in the year 2007. It?s kind of funny that this small talking-heads piece has so many people talking, because without its central gimmick, no one would be utterly a word about [i]Death of a Presiden[/i]t. No readers, they would all be fast asleep.
We?re introduced to various people involved in the fateful event. In October 2007, Bush is appearing in Chicago and the city is overrun with protestors armed with angry signs and angrier words. A handful of protestors even break police lines and come within a hair of the president?s motorcade (to his credit, Bush doesn?t take it personally). Then as he?s leaving a speech, shaking hands along a roped line, shots are heard and the president goes down. In the aftermath many are suspected, including disenfranchised Iraq war vets, protestors, and a Muslim man who may have a connection to al-Quaida.
[i]Death of a President[/i] has the potential to be little more than extreme left-wing wish fulfillment. No matter your thoughts on Bush as a president and a person, I hope the majority of people would not wish death upon him. I think the appeal of this mock-doc is the ghoulish rubbernecking of watching the president die right before your eyes. The moment is quick and mostly just Bush bending over in pain. The lead-up to the kill manages to quicken the pulse. Is it offensive to flirt with the idea of killing our elected leaders while they are still in office? Is it more repugnant when filmmakers use advanced computer effects and archival footage to make the moment as real as possible? It seems that the movie is coming at the peak of an unpopular president and an unpopular war, so some moviegoers will buy their tickets just to vicariously watch Bush die. Those same folks will be surprised how sympathetic and likeable Bush comes across in passing.
Questionable ethics aside, the movie is a whodunit built around a fortuitous gimmick, but once the title death takes place the movie utterly collapses. The ensuing hour turns into an investigation into who had their finger on the trigger. [i]Death of a President[/i] has a baffling lack of political insight. The government centers their investigation on a Middle Eastern man of Syrian descent, fudges evidence out of pressure, and tries to build support for a unilateral military response, civil liberties get trampled upon in the name of security, and yet it?s all so sadly predictable. [i]Death of a President[/i] is merely repeating the news of our tumultuous times, and it feels so stiltedly scripted. You can?t help but think that the current political scandals are far more weird and fascinating than this ho-hum what-if political science scenario. It?s just recycling current events and changing corresponding details. There?s nothing new or interesting here. As soon as Bush gets shot down so too does the film?s chances of exploring anything meaningful.
The second half of this film is downright narcoleptic. The investigation is deep in procedural gobbledy gook and the film feels impersonal. I mean, a sitting president has been assassinated in the age of cable TV, global economy, and the war on terror, and all the film can muster is trying to piece together the minutia of how to prosecute a case? I?m sorry, presidential assassination ranks a bit above your standard [i]Law & Order[/i] output. There are so many interesting doomsday outcomes that could come about (especially with the scary thought of a President Cheney) and yet the film finds the most boring, insignificant, tedious path. This is inexcusable. It all feels so pathetically small for an act that would be immeasurably monumental. The film is shocking in how little it has to say about anything. It is devoid of commentary and complexity.
Director/co-writer Gabriel Range stages the entire film exactly like a prime time TV news report. It?s slick and packaged well, and the cut-and-paste magic creates an eerie realism. Range uses a mix of archival footage and CGI to illustrate Bush?s assassination. Cheney?s eulogy is actually extensively culled from the speech he gave at Ronald Reagan?s funeral. Don?t know if that?s respectful or not. The technical credentials are worthwhile; the heavy-handed message is not. This is not satire. This is shallow and secondary and pointless. I think Range has treated [i]Death of a President [/i]more like an audition film, hoping for bigger and better things. At least, I hope whatever comes next for this man is better.
[i]Death of a President[/i] isn?t a terrible movie, but it?s way too simplistic, ham-fisted, myopic, and freakin? dull. The controversy attached to this tiny movie may mislead you into thinking it?s something worth seeing. It?s not. The visual trickery and talking-head structure makes it seem like something you?d see on TV, and you should take that to heart. Wait for TV with this one. Its direct-to-TV ticket is booked as soon as audiences find out what the movie really is. That is, if you can manage to rouse them awake.
Nate?s Grade: C-
May 6, 2007
Range directs his film with a unique twist and an intelligently original approach to the content. However, the script lacks in subtlety and originality and ultimately comes across as simple-minded and insultingly aggressive. Interesting, but certainly not flawless.
November 7, 2006
Technically admirable, politically level, yet wholly disposable.
August 1, 2007
Creative filmmaking, but was much more interesting leading up to the assasination. The film's premise is a dream come true for many, but doesn't really solve anything.
fb1413120010February 6, 2012
This is a rather interesting (and frightening) thought experiment. The art is in the realism -- I keep forgetting this isn't an actual documentary that I'm watching, or that this hasn't happened. That's a testament to the writing and the general tone, which definitely feels like a 20/20 documentary or some shit about a big event that just happened recently. What's frightening is how plausible everything is following the President's assassination.
September 9, 2011
I personally don't understand why ppl don't like this movie, short of their own stupidity. (That goes for the vast majority of those ppl/users that I have seen making comments about this film on this site and all others.) Are they so embracing of their politically correct conservatism that they just shed all remaining phallic remembrances, that they & so many of them have been hiding for so long, of that political joke and finally unabashedly accept their true cause & purpose in life...
Probably not; stupid ppl are the biggest hypocrites of all! (That political joke is the one where conservatives, ... political, social, religious, & others, and any combination of them including all of them, fake being supporters of political correctness! Conservatives SUPPORT political correctness much more so than those of any other political ideology, including liberals!)
I found this to be an interesting, realistically told, documentary-style film, with believable dramatizations of what such a tragedy would look like if it unfolded. All the actors who were interviewed as former employees, associates, aides, etc., in the Bush Administration expressed a decidedly earnest amount of grief and despair about the assassination, wishing that they somehow could have done something more to prevent it, their attempts to keep such a tragedy from happening in the first place and to do something to keep it from becoming a full-on reality once the reality had clearly started to unfold.
As critic Rick Groen states on the Flixster webpage for this film, "Death of a President is a masterly piece of documentary chicanery that kills George W. Bush without once pandering to his legions of ill-wishers." This film does not give the Bush-haters what they, presumably and/or supposedly, want most of all and in being and in expressing that kind of honest integrity this film shows itself as the masterpiece that it is. Many Bush-lovers have expressed such disgust at this movie as to try to appeal to the opposite end of the spectrum, by saying ..."What are they going to do now, an Obama assassination movie?!!"
Well, if they did it without giving the Obama-haters what they want most of all, if they did exactly that with the exact same amount of grief, tragedy, despair, desperation, sadness and remorse, perhaps! But, is there a market for that?? Certainly Obama is hated by a certain sect of American society, and perhaps even other ppl out there in the world but, ...it is the American public that such a movie would be made, especially here in the US, for! And the ppl that hate Obama don't watch films like most ppl do; they are to busy screaming about conspiracy theory this & conspiracy theory that...
So, perhaps it should be made but, since there is obviously virtually no market for it then it would only serve as a piece of art; a piece of art for arts sake. I can't think of anything, honestly, that has ever been made for that reason & that reason alone! ...which means that said movie will probably not be made and I suppose the Bush-lovers just love that idea bc, now they can adequately play the victim with this issue, too! Just as they have done to everything else that they have been crybaby trolls about, hmm.... that seems fair!
August 21, 2010
A mockumentary about the fictional assassination of President Bush in 2007. Well made with a plausible story line and ending.
August 1, 2010
Death of a President is a fictional documentary about the assassination of George Bush. Oh, if it were true.
They use real footage of interviews, speeches, and appearances, perfectly spliced to form this fake news report. This movie is nearly flawless in its execution.
Why didn't this get more press when it was released? Hmm... maybe they didn't want to give anyone any ideas. That would have been tragic.
November 29, 2008
This movie was in poor taste a movie about the killing of a President while still in office shows very little taste .
February 4, 2008
Gives you some perception as to the two different sides of a coin. What can we do better and why do we hold one man accountable for everything we have left to understand?
January 18, 2008
A Very intertesing mockumentary that looks at the event that many over the past 8 years have probably secretly wished for, and the events that would probably follow that action. This is so well put together that it probably would fool one that didn't know it was fake...like an alien or someone coming out of a 10 year coma.
January 2, 2008
It's scary how real they made it seem. It's scary to think that could actually happen. I don't support President Bush whatsoever but I wouldn't want him to die. Crazy real movie.
September 21, 2007
What if, one year from now, President Bush made a speech in Chicago, while outside, there were protestors abound, and while the President was making his exit, someone assasinated him? What would happen next? That is the basis of this fake documentary. It takes place in 2009, two years after the fact, when suspects are pulled, arrested for the wrong reasons, and the real culprit is the one you never expect. The film never insults the audience's intellegence, and if you think the movie is obsessed by the image of the President being assassinated, which by now I think all of you have seen, then you have mistakened yourselves. What makes the film even more interesting is the fact that if this had happened, the outcome would most likely be the same.
August 21, 2007
Skillfully executed (pun intended) mockumentary about George Bush being assassinated in the October of 2007 and the chaos that follows. The use of news footage and existing interviews is pretty seamless as it's woven into the actors portraying members of the staff and other political figures.
July 31, 2007
This film is absolutely amazing. The editing of actual footage w/ the script is seamless. See this movie now!
July 15, 2007
Kind of scary in its projection for the future. Let's hope Patriot Act III never comes into existance.
June 29, 2007
I had heard all about this recent mockumentary, filmed a few years in the future, that looks back on the assassination of our current president in October of this year. I was fascinated by the fact that we live in a society whose conditions would drive artists to create a fictional death fantasy of the leader of the free world, and then when more research concluded that this film wouldn't see wide distribution I supposed it was because, well, who wants to watch that?
I'll tell you, what I expected in this case was a diatribe on why Bush deserved it, but amazingly it was not really about Bush at all. He was merely the plot point around which bigger, more pressing issues than the perpetually bottom-of-the-barrel approval ratings revolve. It deals much more with racial profiling, with our fear as Americans of hot-button words like "terrorism" and "al-Qaeda," and most importantly, with our hunger for vengeance.
I don't want to spoil too much of the movie, because I think it should be seen. But it's not exactly an upper. I could see this one studied in classrooms in the future.
June 27, 2007
A fake documentary style film taking place sometime in 2008, roughly a year after the assassination of George W. Bush.
The movie follows the response of the U.S. government right after the assassination and in the months and year following.
It illustrated the reactionary response of the white house as well as the fear motivated search for suspects. The FBI leans on every Arab name until they find one they can use.
This movie examines how pre-existing stereotypes and fear will lead us to profile out of hate. That it is always in SOMEONE'S best interest to promote enemies, real or imagined.
A thought provoking work that should be seen.
May 2, 2007
Interesting enough idea, but not a very good execution of that idea. Some nice twists, but the talking heads got old and kinda boring after awhile.
April 25, 2007
pretty interesting to see how they made this mockumentry kinda feels like it would show up on the history channel in 20 years or so
April 23, 2007
Piss poor direction, story writing, acting........ especially considering the incredibly great concept. This movie could have been a MILLION times better, had a real director and not some amateur, directed it. Don't waste your time. Seriously.