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Mystery Movies - Death Of A President

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Death Of A President
Hend Ayoub, Brian Boland, Becky Ann Baker
Directed by Gabriel Range
Lionís Gate 2007
97 minutes

To anyone at Homeland Security reading this, this is a review. Please do not put me on any bad guy list. Death of a President most certainly bothered the American right with its premise, the assassination of George W. Bush,  but one wonders if it is not its extremely plausible veracity of the events posited as following this "moment in history" that really bothered it. Death of a President is an extremely well made mockumentary that works, immediately gets the viewer interested, and is very astute in its speculation of what would have happened next.

Death of a President is not director Gabriel Range's first mockumentary but it is unfortunately the only one available on DVD. This movie is really good enough to want to watch again immediately after viewing it the first time and make you want to watch what else Range has written and directed in the past. Anyone who has seen a movie on the JFK assassination will immediately see Range has done his stylistic homework for DOAP. If you have seen The Thin Blue Line by Errol Morris you will recognize how some of the shots are lined up and some of the fake testimony in the mock interviews is lined up. If you have ever seen a cop being interviewed about a crime you will also probably be able to play spot the canard.

Gabriel Range cleverly mixes real footage of George W Bush and Dick Cheney and real footage of protests with staged footage and computer tweaked footage. This creates a very captivating and interesting story. He is well aware of the various kinds of footage that is now available, such as cell phone captures, and uses it to great effect even if it does get a bit confusing sometimes.

It is difficult to write about Death Of A President without playing spoiler and this is not going to happen. Let's just say there are a few unresolved issues in Death Of A President; the kind of thing that would make conspiracy theory nuts salivate and keep them pounding their respective pulpits for a long time to come. The commentary tracks, best used with the closed captioned subtitles on for best effect, are usually interesting.

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