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Death of a President (2006)

6.4
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Ratings: 6.4/10 from 6,272 users   Metascore: 49/100
Reviews: 120 user | 121 critic | 30 from Metacritic.com

Years after the assassination of President George W. Bush in Chicago, an investigative documentary examines that as-yet-unsolved crime.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Eleanor Drake
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Larry Stafford
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Robert H. Maguire
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Dawn Newton
Seena Jon ...
Samir Masri
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Greg Turner
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Casey Claybon (as M. Neko Parham)
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Sam McCarthy
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Marianne Claybon
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John Rucinski
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Dr. James Pearn
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Frank Molini
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Adam Brock
David Girolmo ...
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Storyline

Years after the assassination of President George W. Bush in Chicago, an investigative documentary examines that as-yet-unsolved crime.

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Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for brief violent images | See all certifications »
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Details

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Release Date:

21 December 2006 (South Korea)  »

Also Known As:

Death of a President  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Budget:

$2,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$167,000 (USA) (27 October 2006)

Gross:

$167,000 (USA) (27 October 2006)
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Company Credits

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Preexisting footage of President George W. Bush and CGI effects help to create the scenes of his assassination. See more »

Goofs

In U.S Standard kept time, : is used between the numbers, as in 3:30pm. However, on an American broadcast, in the corner of the screen the time is given as 3.30 which is the European standard for time. American News keeps the : on their clock tickers. See more »

Quotes

[end title cards]
Title card: One year after his conviction, Jamal Abu Zikri has still not been granted leave to appeal.
Title card: He remains on death row in Statevill Correctional Center.
Title card: Since recording the interview for this film Robert H Maguire has resigned as Head of the Chicago Field Office of the FBI.
Title card: USA PATRIOT III, introduced in the days after the assassination, has since been turned into permanent law.
Title card: It has granted investigators unprecedented powers of detention and surveillance, and further expanded ...
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Set aside the incendiary title... What remains?
9 October 2006 | by (Minneapolis, USA) – See all my reviews

"Death of a President" is a truly original and intriguing 'future documentary' about an event that hasn't happened yet. It is a reflection on the events surrounding the October 2007 assassination of George W. Bush in a Chicago hotel.

That future time is portrayed with an escalation of the anti-war fervor and a growing concern over the dangers posed by North Korea.

The film flips between staged scenes, real footage & documentary style interviews. It does a fine job of seamlessly blending those pieces to create a very plausible "precreation".

It is interesting watching this film on October 9th, 2006... a day which began with news of North Korea's first nuclear test. The first twenty minutes of the film are dotted with mentions of that scenario.

There are some chilling scenes in this film... especially early on, when you get a real sense of the protesters being contained and beaten down by Chicago police in full riot gear.

After a political speech in the hotel, the President is ushered down a standard meet-and-greet rope-line. It is at this point that the film lives up to its name. Shots are fired and one of the most frenzied scenes of any film this year ensues. Bush is thrown into a waiting limo, which speeds off to the nearest hospital. The crowd at the rope line is panicked beyond recognition. The FBI launches into gear. The media machine revs its engines. And the Chicago skyline lights the night air as an eerie sense of history-in-the-making takes hold.

Later that night, newscasters announce the death of George W. Bush and the film transposes into an FBI procedural... A virtual whodunit for us viewers. It feels very much like a David Mamet plot crossed with an Oliver Stone concept. It truly is a wonderfully imaginative idea played out with great skill and cinematic artistry.

***

OK - The secondary question in reviewing this film is this... Is it wrong? Is it morally questionable to have such a premise be the focal point of a film? Is it in bad taste?

Well, I have always been one to follow Roger Ebert's mandate that, "It is not always what a film is about, but how it is about it." I try not to pass judgment on the subject, but on the skill of the film itself.

However, this is a very brazen subject. Even for a Bush-hating liberal like me, this approaches the line, if indeed it doesn't cross it. It comes dangerously close to going too far.

That being said, I think it stops short of that line and delivers a legitimate scenario that merits people's attention. I believe this film earns the right to touch on this subject. It is a quality film and should not be thought of as a sensationalistic attempt to shock audiences.

***

Back to the plot... The film analyzes the hunt for suspects and forensic evidence. It follows the investigation all the way to a murder trial. I will not detail the story any further.

What this film does brilliantly is to shade the discussion toward issues like the Patriot Act, Homeland Security futility, the right to privacy, the right to a fair trial, and the apathy of the American public to seek truth and justice. It hints at Governmental manipulation, a wag the dog mentality. It tells personal stories of civilians and soldiers and suspects and Presidential aides. This film has a tremendously broad scope considering the budget.

"Death of a President" meanders patiently toward a conclusion you will probably not expect. This is a very thoughtful film that wants us to think carefully about the consequences of future terrorism. It asks us to contemplate the futility of such a crime and the repercussions it would have on future generations. In fact, it very much condemns this scenario as the worst thing that could happen.

I was riveted by this film. It is not just a scream for attention with a daring title. It has something very important to say and it says it very eloquently. That it dramatizes the assassination of a sitting President only adds to the palpable tension and urgency of its message. I think that "Death of a President" is one of the best and most important films of 2006. Go out of your way to see it as soon as you can!

© Written by TC Candler IndependentCritics.com


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