Death of a President
EXTRAS: Interviews with the filmmakers; trailer
Roadshow ( feature runs 87 minutes) $ 39.95
THIS film plays with your mind: it is about the events surrounding the assassination of George W. Bush in Chicago on October 19, 2007, so it must be fiction, but it takes the form of a high- quality interviewbased documentary so authentically that what is being seen and heard seems far from being made up. Before the film was released, a black- and- white photograph of Bush being shot was published across the world. Much was written and said about the photo and the way technology has destroyed photojournalism, and a lot of it was in very outraged voices. Partly because of that photograph, the depiction of the assassination is much anticipated and, when it comes, it is disappointing. It doesn’t measure up to the clarity of the still image, which is not in the film, and it happens so fast. But once the shooting has happened, about one- third of the way in, the film shifts focus to the suspected perpetrators and moves into top gear. Instead of being distractions, the film’s extraordinary visual cleverness, the exemplary acting and the notion of the world’s most powerful leader being killed work together to create an intriguing portrait of how civil liberties and justice come second to national security and the rush to make judgments and attribute blame. As director Gabriel Range says in the DVD extras, a cataclysmic event makes you take stock, and that is exactly what this film does: it is a blinkers- off look at contemporary America at the political level.