Death of a President
October 27, 2006
Director Garbriel Range
Producer Liza Marshall, Gabriel Range, Robin Gutch
Screenwriter Simon Finch, Gabriel Range
Studio Newmarket Films
Starring Hend Ayoub, George W. Bush, Brian Boland, Becky Ann Baker, Michael Reilly Burke, Neko Parham, Holly Barrett, Patricia Buckley, Bryan Cohen, Andrea Frisby, John R. Haley, Theophilus Jamal, Jay Patterson, Chavez Ravine, January Scarpino, Christian Stolte, Matt Ukena, James Urbaniak, Jay Whittaker
Genre Crime, Drama, Mystery
MPAA Rating R
Source: Official Site
CanMag Review Score:
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Plot / Synopsis
Winner of the International Critics' Prize at the Toronto Film Festival, Death of a President is conceived as a fictional TV documentary broadcast in 2008, reflecting on another monstrously despicable and cataclysmic event: the assassination of President George W. Bush on October 19th, 2007. The "documentary" combines archival footage and carefully composed interviews, presented in a respectful and dignified manner. Exciting and questioning, it refashions the event into a riveting story.
The film opens with the ferocious energy of a Tarantino or Oliver Stone movie, as frenetically edited archival footage thrusts us into a raging crowd of protesters, waiting for President Bush's procession. The President is portrayed as a sympathetic and likable man beloved by those close to him and charming to his followers. As the President gives a patriotic speech inside a hotel, the demonstrators' fury increases to the breaking point. The tension mounts until the horrible instant where the President is assassinated.
After the assassination, the film shifts into the style of a mystery, and follows the FBI's hunt for the assassin. All the suspects are interviewed except one Syrian man who is convicted and put on death row. There is much circumstantial evidence against him. But is he guilty of the crime? Or does his being Middle Eastern provide a convenient excuse to label the death of the President as an Act of Terror?
Director Gabriel Range previously used the device of a "retrospective documentary" in his celebrated 2003 film "The Day Britain Stopped," about a chain of events that led to a breakdown of the country's transport system and nearly a hundred fatalities. Both of these films have been acclaimed for the technical virtuosity with which they combine archival footage and filmed scenes to create disturbingly real visions of catastrophes.
Death of a President was honored by The International Critics Prize Jury (FIPRESCI) at Toronto for "the audacity with which it distorts reality, to reveal a larger truth."
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