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AICN Hawaii! Albert Lanier Reviews DEATH OF A PRESIDENT!!

Hey, everyone. ”Moriarty” here. Haven’t seen it. Not particularly compelled to see it. But I’m certainly curious to see what Albert thought of it:

CHICAGO-On October 19, 2007 after addressing a meeting of the Economic Club of Chicago at that city's Sheraton Hotel, President George W. Bush was shot to death. Shots rang out after 8 p.m. as President Bush was greeting supporters and well-wishers standing behind rope lines just outside the entrance of the Sheraton hotel. Secret Service agents then swiftly got the President into his car and drove hurriedly to Northwestern Hospital where Bush was treated. Doctors at Northwestern told reporters that the President had been hit by two bullets, one of which penetrated his heart before breaching the wall of one of his lungs. President Bush was pronounced dead after 1 a.m. on the morning of October 20th. Vice President Richard Cheney has already taken the Presidential Oath of Office and has assumed the office of the Presidency. Authorities believe the fatal shots that killed the president came from a nearby office building-422 N. Park Street A sniper rifle believed to be the murder weapon was found in a garbage chute. The rifle's serial numbers were filed or scratched off, an earmark of a possible professional killer noted representatives from Chicago's FBI office. Security cameras have picked up at least two figures entering the revolving doors of 422 N. Park building complex. One figure has been identified as Robert Molini, 28, a University of Illinois drop-out who has been involved in anti-war and anti-Bush protests. Molini was picked up by police and questioned by local police as well as FBI but was eventually released. The other man seen by security cameras has not yet been positively identified The shooting of President Bush took place in an atmosphere charged with anger and fury about the President and his foreign policy charges such as the ongoing war in Iraq. 12,000 protestors converged on the Sheraton during Bush's speech that night stretching local police resources to nearly the breaking point. That's what a newspaper article might look like if the scenario in Gabriel Range's controversial new film DEATH OF A PRESIDENT actually came true. The opening night film of the newly named Island Independent Film Festival(formerly known as Cinema Paradise) or IIFF, DEATH OF A PRESIDENT screened to a decent sized crowd at Hawaii's only indie film festival on Thursday, November 9th Now in its fifth year, IIFF only ran for 4 days this year-from Thursday, November 9th to Sunday, November 12th with films screened at the converted brick-walled loft/space "Next Door"in Downtown Honolulu which serves as a night club year round- with a slew of local and mainland musical artists performing there- when not used as a venue for a film festival and the Red Elephant cafe which also has a small 125 seat theater where indie films are shown every week on Tuesdays. DEATH OF A PRESIDENT is certainly the kind of film that this young film fest loves to program-controversial, thought-provoking and non-mainstream. Actually, DEATH OF PRESIDENT is presented as a mainstream documentary of sorts. What the film really is is a dramatic feature done in the form of a documentary or what I like to call a "crockumentary." Written by Brits Simon Finch and Gabriel Range and directed by Range, DEATH OF A PRESIDENT has been compared to another fairly famous "crockumentary" THE WAR GAME as well as the non-doc dramatic film SUDDENLY starring Frank Sinatra as a would-be Presidential Assassin (an interesting role for ol' blue eyes). THE WAR GAME is an apt comparison but another comparison I would put forward is the fakedoc DUDETOWN about the coalescing of a strike in a small town. I think DUDETOWN is similar to DEATH OF A PRESIDENT-not in its subject matter which is obvious-but the dedication and fidelity to making a unreal situation or event as real as possible. Director Range does a fine job of creating a believable atmosphere for this nightmare scenario to take place. For example, Range and his crew shoot effective enough footage simulating a massive demonstration on the Sheraton Hotel. Range and his editors also do a credible job of integrating "talking head interview" segments with real news footage and other "scenes". You also have to hand it Range his co-writer Simon Finch for constructing a plausible enough situation in their screenplay for an actual assassination. In addition, Range does a fine job extracting fine performances from his cast including Jay Patterson of SLUMS OF BEVERLY HILLS as Sam McCarthy, a White House correspondent; Robert Mangiardi as Greg Turner, the Chicago Police officer overseeing police protection at and near the Sheraton; Michael Reilly as FBI Special Agent in Charge Robert Maguire who heads the murder investigation; James Urbaniak as Dr. James Pearn, an FBI Forensic expert who is involved in the investigation. Not to mention Jay Whittaker as Frank Molini, Malik Bader as as Jamal Zikri, the reputed assassin and Tony Dale as Al Claybon. a veteran of the recent Iraq war who has his own theory about what happened to the President. These actors and others in the cast do a commendable, professional job of acting in a project that has and will be misinterpreted by politicians, pundits and reporters. Which gets me to the controversy. DEATH OF A PRESIDENT has been called "despicable" and "absolutely outrageous" by Senator Hillary Clinton (D-New York) who told the JOURNAL NEWS of upstate New York "That anyone would even attempt to profit on such a horrible scenario makes me sick." CNN and NPR refused to run ads for the film and the Regal and Cinemark chains refused to run the film in their cinemas. Though as a Freelance Journalist and Film critic, I don't agree with censorship, I also feel that theater chains have the right to pick up the indie films they wish to release-even if I disagree with a number of their choices. Likewise TV and radio stations also have to right to broadcast whatever ads they wish-even if I don't like some of their choices for ads broadcast over the airwaves or radiowaves. As for Senator Clinton, it is obvious that she has not seen the movie for DEATH OF A PRESIDENT is neither "despicable" or "outrageous". DEATH OF A PRESIDENT is an intelligent, reasonably thought out film that examines the age-old "What If" factor. What if President Bush were shot? What then? What's interesting about DEATH OF A PRESIDENT is that Bush is a supporting player of sorts. He dies and the film moves forward. The film does not obsess over Bush but probes investigatory apparatus, techniques and reasoning: the search for suspects, the hunt for evidence, the discovery of largely circumstantial evidence, the round-up of a suspect and trial and conviction of the suspect both in the media and in the courts. In the meantime, Patriot 3 is signed into law and law enforcement agents are given an even wider scope in which to hunt terrorists and bring criminals to justice. Is DEATH OF A PRESIDENT a good film? Yes, it is, far better than I expected it to be. Should everyone go see this film (if indeed it manages to play in your town)? No, some people will be offended by even the notion of Bush being killed. If you are one of those people, don't see the film. After all, most American moviegoers do not have wide cinematic tastes and there are dozens of films that millions of filmgoers wouldn't be caught dead seeing. However, if you are interested in seeing an well-done drama that examines a hypothetical event through the prism of documentary-like realism, then you want to check out DEATH OF A PRESIDENT. Oh, I almost forgot, time to end on an update. Jamal Zikri, a Syrian national believed by authorities to be the man who shot and killed President George W. Bush in Chicago in 2007, was found Guilty of the murder of the slain president in a courtroom on May 10,2008. A jury unanimously found Zikri guilty of using a sniper rifle to fire two shots into President Bush on October 19,2007 from a nearby office building at 422 N.Park Street just as the President was shaking hands with supporters just outside of the Sheraton Hotel. Zikri was arrested and questioned by FBI agents last year in connection with the death of President Bush. Zikri's fingerprints were also found at the sniper's nest at 422 N. Park street and on the sniper rifle believed to be the murder weapon. Though FBI forensic experts admitted that the prints were not an absolute clear match, the prints in evidence did conform to 9 points of comparison providing enough evidence to link Zikri to the scene of the crime. An investigation of Zikri revealed that he had previously served in the Syrian military. While visiting Pakistan for religious reasons in 2001, the FBI says that Zikri made a trip across the border to nearby Afghanistan to train at a terrorist camp. Zikri denied that he is a terrorist and called his trip to Afghanistan a "mistake. Zikri also contends that he had nothing to do with the killing of President Bush and is innocent of all charges
Readers Talkback
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  • Nov. 15, 2006, 5:45 a.m. CST

    Glass Cock.

    by Grando

    Jesus frakin' wept. This film has been on free to air TV in the UK more times than The Sound of Music. It's not even good! When is this site going to stop posting reviews for this overated pile of monkey jizz? Tomorrow on AICN..... Vern reviews Marked for Death!

  • Nov. 15, 2006, 5:51 a.m. CST


    by pammybabe

    Strange there has been such a reaction in America when you think of how many American films show foreign leaders being killed in the name of entertainment. Why wasn't Hillary Clinton speaking out about 'Team America' showing Kim Jong-Il being killed? Is it because it is OK to show another country's persident being killed as long as it is humerous or only as long it is someone you have decided you don't like?

  • Nov. 15, 2006, 5:55 a.m. CST


    by Thomas Cromwell

    An excellent review, although it plays down just how disturbing the sight of the wretched Dubya being shot actaully is. And when that woman who plays the president's 'speech writer' tells of her sorrow at Dubya's death, its hard to supress a tear. DOAP aint perfect but everyone should watch it and decide for themselves whether or not it is 'tasteful' viewing.

  • Nov. 15, 2006, 5:56 a.m. CST

    FIRST!!...or not

    by Thomas Cromwell

    Stupid site.

  • Nov. 15, 2006, 7:04 a.m. CST


    by Seph_J


  • Nov. 15, 2006, 7:37 a.m. CST

    This already came and went. It's done. Over.

    by Negative Man

    Or are we going to do state by state reviews of this movie now? I'm dying to find out what AICN Nebraska thinks about this steaming pile of mediocrocy.

  • Nov. 15, 2006, 7:56 a.m. CST

    This 'movie' was total horseshit.

    by MattCG

    Download it. Also, it was a particularly.....optimistic look at how President Cheney would respond to this sort of thing. Halfassed all the way.

  • Nov. 15, 2006, 8:48 a.m. CST


    by bugfuk

    Everytime I think of George W Bush being shot dead I jizz in my pants. If I was locked in a room with him and Hitler and had a gun with only two bullets, I'd shoot Dubya twice, just to make sure.

  • Nov. 15, 2006, 9:49 a.m. CST

    Must Be A Slow News Day At AICN

    by Ill Clinton

    Either that, or some people can't get enough of the idea of Bush being shot. Sigh.

  • Nov. 15, 2006, 10:08 a.m. CST

    The Real reason why hillary doesn't like the film

    by vesuvias

    It quite honestly absolutly humanizes GW. You actually feel sorry for him and his wife. You feel as if he was trying the best he could. The film also basically demonizes the protesting oposition. There is a scene of them "cheering" when they here the news of the presidents death. They come off as violent, insane wackos. The left is going to HATE this film despite its attractive premise to them. The fact that it is an attractive premise to them is part of irony. To be honest though other than the political ruffling that will go on about the film, it wasn't that great. It basically told the pointless story of the assasination of president Bush from a documentry standpoint. Since we all know that is a fictional account the whole film seems a bit lame. We are expecting to be entertained by the fiction but are instead just informed which seems odd. Maybe that was the point though. Mabye the irony of the fallout and the lefts reaction to a film about the "death" of thier most hated president is really the artistic message here. Hmmm, though provoking anyway....

  • Nov. 15, 2006, 10:10 a.m. CST

    by SkeletonParty

    sums it all up.

  • Nov. 15, 2006, 11:27 a.m. CST


    by Kamala

    Either your a retard, an islamic jihadist, or paint sniffing Ward Churchill Acolyte. Please don' breed, vote, or drive public transportation. Any plans to cede Berkley away from the United States in your agenda? Just think of all terrorisst and racist bigots from all over the world you could attract to help you! Now get back to tie-dying your panties you just jizzed in, you worthless freak...

  • Nov. 15, 2006, 12:17 p.m. CST


    by MattCG

    Practice what you preach.

  • Nov. 15, 2006, 1:15 p.m. CST

    The #1 Main problem with this film - its boring.

    by TallBoy66

    here's me review, new reviewage every Thurwsday at Thought of sending it into AICN, cause it techincally had its "wide" release (all of 100+ theatres) already, but figured they'd pass on it. Anyway, for the interested, read away. Short version - there is some trippy and moving stuff in here, but after the opening, it never reaches the alterna-universe / War of the Worlds Radio Broadcast immediacy. *ahem* The concept of the “mockumentary” has been around for years. Popularized in films such as This is Spinal Tap or Best In Show, it involves documentary style interviewing of fictional characters and their fictional lives. Even “The Office” on TV (a show you really should be watching) can fall under the mockumentary header. A fictional dramatic documentary, an oxymoron if you think about it, is different and comes with its own set of problems. Yeah, maybe you could classify some of Michael Moore’s work under that category, but the movie I’m talking about isn’t Fahrenheit 9/11, it’s Death Of A President. And while Death may have an unnerving style and be quite powerful at times, its central gimmick is hard to sustain for the entire runtime. It ends up being exactly what a documentary shouldn’t be: kinda dull. Using existing footage and sound bites from the current US Administration, Director Gabriel Range has crafted a documentary style drama about the death of current American President George W. Bush. The “documentary” involves interviews with featured players, protestors, secret service, police, FBI, and accused assassins who were involved on the day of the president’s assassination in October 2007. Setting the story sometime in the near future and dropping references to week–old headlines like Nuclear North Korea makes the film seem eerily prescient. It’s like you’re watching a newsreel from the future. Very trippy and unsettling. These early scenes are definitely the best. When George Bush lands in Chicago, there are hundreds of angry, angsty, protestors waiting on the ground for him. The level of hatred in these scenes, empathized by cutting away to the protestors banging war–drums and chanting, feels almost palatable. Some very good music underneath contributes to the mood. And the faux– interviews with sad–looking government spooks who failed to protect the president feel genuinely emotional. At this moment, the film’s spell holds you in its dark sway. You know something bad is about to happen and you feel powerless to prevent it. But after the assassination, the momentum grinds to a halt. Just like that the George W. Snuff Film (which is what you can essentially boil the flick down to) has happened, and you’re staring at a good solid hour’s worth of fake documentary ahead of you. Like the president’s heart, the movie flatlines rather unexpectedly and never recovers. The second act is the weakest: it involves a lot of investigating and accusations that are hard to get into. With the dramatic tension removed all of the characters revert to clichés: the protestor suspects come across as dirty, amoral hippies, the investigators come across as jack–boot fascists, and the nerdy forensics guy who talks about searching for evidence looks like he stumbled out of the scientist nerd character workshop. Probably the most disappointing development is how the movie paints Dick Cheney as immediately hell–bent on pinning the assassination on Evil Boogeyman Syria without a single shred of proof. Yeah the real Darth Cheney is a dick, but this portrayal just feels like transparent “USA Is Not OK” pontificating. If the filmmakers want to sustain a level of believability that this event actually happened, a documentary should be impartial. However after dragging through the 2nd act, we get a few involving and dramatic twists to the storyline. Told mostly through interviews of the individuals involved, and all well acted, the movie suddenly hooks back into what made it so compelling at the beginning: the emotional core of watching a documentary and people telling their stories. The assassination may wrap up a little too neatly, but as a dramatic ending, it works astonishingly well emotionally. From a technical standpoint, keeping the fiction alive and having real individuals talk about the assassination holds together. There’s some good CGI manipulation at work to place the president in a certain situation, and very slick voice editing. Sometimes. Other times it’s a little hokey. The few back–of–the– head shots of people like George W. Bush kept reminding me of how George Steinbrenner was portrayed on “Seinfeld.” And while the splicing together of speeches by public figures is okay, other times it’s just really lame. A prime example is Cheney eulogizing Bush, and inserting the president’s name rather inelegantly. Ever seen that episode of “The Simpsons” where Krusty The Clown’s video has him mouthing a different name and someone else says, “Mr. Black?” Yeah, its that bad. Death has a tense opening, a surprisingly powerful and poignant ending, and some really long and dry procedural stuff in the middle. If you open and end well, most of the middle is forgivable. As a purely intellectual exercise in how easily documentaries can be constructed, it’s worth a glance. Death of a President is definitely unconventional, outside–of–the–box filmmaking. But at its core is a shock–value trick movie that doesn’t hold together. You can find better told stories involving the death of presidents by going out and renting J.F.K. or picking up season five of “24.” And Death of A President doesn’t have anything nearly as cool as Kiefer Sutherland yelling, “Right here! Right now! You are going to face justice!” Considering how dull the flick can get, it could have used a little bit of Jack Bauer.

  • Nov. 15, 2006, 1:41 p.m. CST

    Kim Jong-Il being killed

    by Neo Technic

    You see, the difference is, most Americans don't care if all of North Korea knows we want that dick(tator) of a leader dead. You see, North Korea is an American enemy. If they made a movie about killing GW, it wouldn't be alarming it'd be expected. And it would never get shown in a US theatre. This movie is. It's perfectly an American thing to do to disagree and hate our president and his policies, I know I do, it's another to wish him dead. And for all his faults, he's no where close to Hitler.

  • Nov. 15, 2006, 2:15 p.m. CST

    It amazes me that...

    by JacksParasites

    ...anyone in this country, particularly after the last 6 years, still considers anything about the office of the president to be sacred. Hilary only opposes the film because she's already bedded the GOP with her ridiculous video game violence cause, and is continuing her attempts to appear "moderate." And the GOP wouldn't have had a problem with it if it had depicted the assassination of President Clinton. They'd treat it like they did The Passion of the Christ. And I can't even count the number of disaster films that have already depicted the destruction of the White House or the death of fictional presidents. I have no idea if this film is good or not, but it ain't blasphemous or deplorable. That's for damned sure. And for a nation that stands by while real people are getting hurt in increasingly violent porn films, this hardly registers at all.

  • Nov. 15, 2006, 2:47 p.m. CST

    Wow, bugfuk.

    by Captain Mal

    You are one stupid motherfucker. The incidental death of thousands is more grievous to you than the intentional murder of millions? Please drown yourself, you anti-fucking-Semite.

  • Nov. 15, 2006, 4:03 p.m. CST

    Wow, Capt'n Mal, were you trying to miss bugfuk's point

    by JacksParasites

    I'm not saying I agree or disagree with bugfuk's statement, but he was being rhetorical. Say it with me: "Rhetorical." R-H-E-T-O-R-I-C-A-L He simply meant to voice his extreme disapproval with that "incidental death of thousands" as you so affectionally called it. This administration sees a lot of incidental deaths, doesn't it? In fact, that should be the administrations slogan: "Greatest contributer to incidental deaths since 2001."

  • Nov. 15, 2006, 4:50 p.m. CST

    What was his point, again?

    by Captain Mal

    If all bugfuk wanted to do was voice his extreme disapproval, then he need only have said that he'd like to kill the President. The reference to Hitler was gratuitous, disingenuous, and absurd.<p> As for my reference to the "incidental death of thousands," there's nothing affectionate about it--it's simply an accurate assessment of the shitty facts. Killing civilians has never been a goal of the American operation in Iraq. The extermination of a an entire race, however, *was* a goal of Hitler's. <p> Look, I'm no war supporter, and I certainly have no love for the American President, but stupid fucking "rhetoric" like bugfuk's make me really fucking afraid of what's happening to the American IQ. It's as if people like bugfuk have no sense of history, no understanding of current events in context, and it leads them to make offensive, dumbass statements like the one above. <p>

  • Nov. 15, 2006, 4:57 p.m. CST

    Kamala and Captain Mal

    by bugfuk

    Dudes, it was a joke. A joke! Relax. Don't be so precious about your country's leader. Of course it's ridiculous to claim that Bush is anything like Hitler or has done or approved of anything remotely similiar to Hitler's crimes. Whilst I apologise for my poorly judged bad taste and for any genuine offence caused I am amused that Kamala could exhibit the same kind of bigotry he accuses me of in his post. I have no plans at all for Berkley since I'm not American and don't plan to meddle in the politics of a country that isn't mine. I wish the same could be said for the Bush administration, and of course, the government of my own country. Captain Mal - I may just be the world's first Jewish anti-semite if your appraisal of me is correct. I may hold off on drowning myself just a little longer since I'm eager to see if you reply. Both of you guys would work well as foils to Borat.

  • Nov. 15, 2006, 4:59 p.m. CST

    Greatest contributer to incidental deaths since 2001?

    by Kamala

    JacksParasites, the answer to the question would have to be, without a doubt, the miltant Jihad movement. Make that since 1974. The hundred bodies that are found mutilated every week in Iraq are muslims killing muslims. The deaths of millions in Darfur is largely from the Arab Muslim government backed lynch mobs. Then have bombs killing hundreds at once in India, Spain, JacksParasites, Indonesia, Jordan, Thailand. No blood for oil right? Guess, no oil in those places, jackass!

  • Nov. 15, 2006, 5:02 p.m. CST


    by Kamala

    bugfuk, would not killing someone or wanting to kill someone because they don't pratice the same religion as you qualify as a Racist/Bigot problem?

  • Nov. 15, 2006, 5:10 p.m. CST

    I watched 15 mins of this tripe...

    by Drworm2002

    I thought it could be wasn't.

  • Nov. 15, 2006, 5:11 p.m. CST


    by bugfuk

    Yes, it might. Why are you asking me? Have you assumed that I actually do want to kill President Bush? Why are you now seeking the opinion of someone you earlier called a '...worthless freak'?

  • Nov. 15, 2006, 6:48 p.m. CST

    bad gut feelings

    by kuguy3000

    I'm all for freedom of speech, and I applaud the filmmakers for doing the "what if" situation... however, that doesn't change the fact that in the pit of my stomach, this is such a disgusting premise...<br> <BR> Sorry, but this just ain't right. You don't have to be pro-Bush to say that. It's just wrong...playing on the emotions of a liberally charged hate-movement, and the right-wing extremists... both groups deserving of each other. All too often it's we, the middle, that get caught in the crossfire....<br> <BR> Shame on the filmmakers...this is just a disgusting premise.

  • Nov. 15, 2006, 9:50 p.m. CST

    bugfuk I was seeking clarity

    by Kamala

    When you say "Kamala could exhibit the same kind of bigotry he accuses me of in his post." Is Berkley, CA now an ethnic group that can't be made fun of? The guy in this photo is running for mayor there, he might win:

  • Nov. 15, 2006, 9:50 p.m. CST

    bugfuk I was seeking clarity

    by Kamala

    When you say "Kamala could exhibit the same kind of bigotry he accuses me of in his post." Is Berkley, CA now an ethnic group that can't be made fun of? The guy in this photo is running for mayor there, he might win:

  • Nov. 16, 2006, 1:25 a.m. CST


    by bugfuk

    Well, since you posted your comment twice and all, the least I can do is reply. The truth is, both of our original posts fell somewhat short of bigotry. This is why I wrote "...the same *sort* of bigotry...'' meaning I was accepting the meaning of the word as defined by you. Merriam-Webster defines a bigot as, among other things ..."a person obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices" Since my original post was an ill-thought out joke, for which I have subsequently apologized, I don't feel I fall under the definition above. Also, by this definition your post can't really be said to be bigoted either, although your assumptions that anyone wanting to shoot Bush must be either "a retard, an islamic jihadist, or paint sniffing Ward Churchill acolyte" does hint that you hold some prejudices against certain groups of people. Why would being a 'retard' - as you so delicately refer to them - mean I would have written what I wrote? Are Islamic Jihadists the only group of people who might benefit from the death of Bush, or want to be the cause of his death? What is there in Ward Churchill's arguments that advocates killing the president? What does any of this have to do with Berkley or tie-die pants? Nothing. Those are your images and associations based on your prejudices. Also, with regard to your use of the word 'retard', might I draw your attention to this quote from the Wikipedia entry for 'Mental retardation'? "...the abbreviation retard or tard is still used as a generic insult, especially among children and teens."

  • Nov. 16, 2006, 2:16 a.m. CST


    by Captain Mal

    While I do think your original joke was in very poor taste, I overreacted, and for that I apologize. I took your comment as a backhanded belittlement of Hitler's atrocities. (As for an anti-Semitic Jew, however, you certainly wouldn't be the first!) <p> At any rate, I'm growing more terrified of the anti-Bush extremists every day. Thank heaven the Americans seem to have turned against their conservative party, and will perhaps elect a more liberal President in 2008. If they don't, I fear we may actually see something like "Death of a President" for real.

  • Nov. 16, 2006, 2:20 a.m. CST


    by Captain Mal

    While I do think your original joke was in very poor taste, I overreacted, and for that I apologize. I took your comment as a backhanded belittlement of Hitler's atrocities. (As for an anti-Semitic Jew, however, you certainly wouldn't be the first!) <p> At any rate, I'm growing more terrified of the anti-Bush extremists every day. Thank heaven the Americans seem to have turned against their conservative party, and will perhaps elect a more liberal President in 2008. If they don't, I fear we may actually see something like "Death of a President" for real.

  • Nov. 16, 2006, 3:46 a.m. CST

    Thanks Cap'n

    by bugfuk

    Although there was really no need for you to apologize. Now we can get back to regular life, which for you presumably, means avoiding the Alliance.