Directed by: Gabriel Range
Written by:Simon Finch, Gabriel Range
Starring: Hend Ayoub, Brian Boland, Becky Ann Baker, Robert Mangiardi, Jay Patterson, Jay Whittaker
Released: May 17, 2007
Grade: B

Death Of A President is not your ordinary movie.  It is a fictitious documentary which chronicles the assassination of George W. Bush on October 19, 2007.  How about that for a unique movie idea?

This premise alone has caused controversy.  There has also been heated debate about the images of George W. Bush which were used in the film.  Special effects created the scene where he is shot.  So yes, you do actually see the real President Bush take two bullets to the chest.  Some viewers will be a little freaked out.

The incident occurred at a hotel in Chicago.  Bush has stepped out into the street to meet with members of the public following a meeting with business leaders.  The shots came from the 20th floor of a neighbouring high rise building and paranoia ensued.  The President was pushed into his limo and rushed immediately to the hospital.  He would be pronounced dead within hours.

The first half of the film looks at the lead up to the shooting.  We hear interviews from various people and their perspective on how the day unfolded.  The Secret Service talk about the problems they had with protestors who tried to disrupt the President’s motorcade.  Bush’s speech writer talks about how calm the President was en route to the meeting.  When you mix these interviews with documentary-like footage, you’ll appreciate why the film feels more “real” than a usual Hollywood blockbuster.

The film’s second half focuses on the resulting investigation and the people responsible.  I found this element of the story more interesting.  Given the circumstances, this is not a crime that can remain unsolved.  The public need someone to be made accountable to give them closure.  As a result, the methods by which suspects were examined and evidence obtained were not out of your standard textbook.

Death Of A President certainly grabbed my attention but it didn’t provide any startling revelations.  In the hours following the President’s death, the first major suspect was identified as being from Syria.  The media seized on this and soon enough, every person with links to Syria was under scrutiny.  Like other incidents we’ve seen of late, the actions of one can cause great harm to their country or religion.  People love to generalise.  It’s a valid point but as I indicated earlier, my eyes were already open to this problem in today’s society.

I’m not sure how many people are going to be keen to see a film like this.  There are enough problems in the world as it is and so to create a new, fictitious one might be too much for some to swallow.  The choice is yours.