DEATH OF A PRESIDENT
zero (out of 5)
October 27, 2006
Hend Ayoub as ZAHRA ABI AIKRI
Brian Boland as LARRY STAFFORD
Becky Ann Baker as ELEANOR DRAKE
Robert Mangiardi as GREG TURNER
Jay Patterson as SAM MCCARTHY
Studio: Film Four
Directed by: Gabriel Range
BY KEVIN CARR
There’s a lot of things that have offended people about the new film “Death of a President.” Most of what irks people is that this is a film depicting the assassination of a sitting president. It’s not one of those “names have been changed for legal reasons” sort of deals. It’s not even like the films “American Dreamz” and “The Day After Tomorrow,” which feature a vice president who looks a lot like Dick Chaney but really isn’t.
While I think the idea of showing the assassination of a sitting president is in bad taste, I don’t find it nearly as offensive as the fact that this is not even an American movie. It’s made by a swatch of ultra-liberal Brits who would rather take pots shots at Bush and company rather than pointing their fingers at their own leaders, who fully supported the war.
But the thing that really offends me about this film is that it is the epitome of intellectual dishonesty. I never thought I’d see a movie that would make me reference Michael Moore’s “Fahrenheit 9/11” as a softer form of bad argumentation, but this is the case in “Death of a President.”
The scene that bothered me the most in “Fahrenheit 9/11” was the “My Pet Goat” segment, in which Michael Moore provided a voice over for Bush suggesting what he might be thinking. Then Moore went on to bash Bush for what he said he might be thinking. Not only was he putting words into his opponent’s mouth, but he was than tearing him down for precisely what he didn’t say.
This method of disinformation is taken to a ludicrous degree with “Death of a President.” After the surprise assassination of Bush, the biggest criticisms this movie has of our politician and Americans in general is in how the filmmakers say we would react. They don’t even have the guts to criticize actual actions, but rather an hour-long straw-man argument.
What we’re left with is a not-so-subtle statement saying that Americans would rather burn a Syrian at the stake than to seek out the real killers. It paints the U.S. citizens, politicians and authorities are raging racists who want to lash out at anyone with dark skin or an Arab name.
But let’s take the politics out of it for a moment and examine the movie from the entertainment and filmmaking perspective.
“Death of a President” is quite easily one of the most amateurism, poorly acted, randomly plotted and shoddily constructed films that has ever received major distribution. I’ve seen better acting in back-yard student films. Instead of a convincing mockumentary, it looked more like a late-night infomercial with overly rehearsed lines given by everyone from overdubbed political figures to a homeless guy in the emergency room giving an impromptu interview to the press.
It’s overtly clear that these filmmakers had an axe to grind with current politics. Even leading up to the assassination scene, we’re barraged with protestor imagery and are told again and again that this is the most protesting anyone has ever done to a president. Forget the fact that these would be protests against a lame-duck president who would be out of office in less than a year and a half.
They seem to forget the barrage of protests to every president since the 60s, including the beloved Bill Clinton who was protested for not keeping his promises to his own liberal base. If you don’t remember this, try Googling “Luke Sissyfag” (no kidding, the real name of an AIDS activist’s real name), one of Clinton’s most outspoken critics in the early 90s.
Don’t waste your time being offended by “Death of a President.” This reeking excuse of a mockumentary deserves to be completely forgotten. At least we know they won’t make a sequel.