Manufactured history guarantees a manufactured controversy: Gabriel Range's Death of a President, which docudramatizes the 2007 assassination of George W. Bush, has been preceded by a long, raucous fanfare. Excoriated on talk radio, damned as a snuff film, and banned by two theater chains, the British production has also garnered celebrity dis-endorsements. Dramatically inert but a minor techno-miracle, Range's movie is a faux documentary with fake talking heads and seamless digital effects. Invented characters are gumped into actual news events and vice versa. The editing and audio sleight of hand are nearly as impressive. Bush is but a special effect. Death of a President is really a movie about 9-11 -- an essay on a national tragedy used to create an even greater tragedy. It's also a movie about itself -- a demonstration of reality shaped to fit a particular hypothesis. But the film's warning about blowback has its own unintended consequences: What follows the assassination is so awful that anyone might be excused for leaving the theater convinced of the urgent need to keep Bush alive.
Director: Gabriel Range
Writer: Simon Finch and Gabriel Range
Producer: Simon Finch, Ed Guiney and Gabriel Range
Cast: Hend Ayoub, Brian Boland, Becky Ann Baker, Robert Mangiardi, Jay Patterson, Jay Whittaker, Michael Reilly Burke, James Urbaniak, Neko Parham and Seena Jon