Death of a President DVD Review
by Kam Williams
DVD Features Realistic Assassination of President Bush
Most of the discussion surrounding this controversial docudrama has revolved around the question of whether it's okay to depict the assassination of a sitting president. Your leanings are likely to determine you're answer and ability to enjoy it, as was the case with other polarizing pictures as Fahrenheit 9/11 and The Passion of the Christ.
That being said, Death of a President is an intelligent political potboiler, which opens in Chicago with Bush set to deliver a speech at a Republican fundraiser. Outside, however, the cops are trying to keep an unruly crowd of picketers irate over the administration's policies at bay.
Then, as the Secret Service escorts the President out of the hotel, he is felled by an assassin's bullet. The agents help him into his limousine and the motorcade rushes to the hospital where the mortally-wounded Bush soon expires.
In the proverbial rush to judgment, the FBI fingers a Middle Eastern man (Zahra Abi Zikri), based on shaky circumstantial evidence alone, even though there had been plenty of other suspects in the windy City that night with a motive to murder the President. Besides Arab terrorists, it could have been the work of any number of fed up and frustrated activists from the lunatic fringe. But the government conveniently opted to ignore the possibility that the murderer might have been homegrown, and unraveling that mystery is the prevailing plotline in Death of a President.
With an innocent Muslim sitting on Death Row, the movie makes some very powerful statements about the Patriot Act, the erosion of our Constitutional rights, and the abuse of power. The picture is also a technical masterpiece, as it seamlessly weaves reams of real footage in with staged events to create a plausible, if ethically debatable scenario, which could encourage a copycat killer.
Excellent (4 stars)
Rated R for brief violent images.
Running time: 97 minutes
Studio: Lions Gate Home Entertainment
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