Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Death of a President

Event television, that's how they describe stuff like Death of a President. And even if "they" don't in this particular case, I would.

I'd heard of this movie for the first time just a few short weeks ago, but I didn't realize it was British-made until yesterday. I also didn't realize that it was going to get a theatrical (cinema) release in the US, while we would get a best-seat-in-the-house TV screening.

As ever in my reviews (such as they are), I don't want to give too much away here. The premise of the movie, though, is a look at the sequence of events following the assassination of George W Bush on 19 October 2007, including the arrest of the prime suspect.

This was a compelling movie. Indeed, it was so well made, generally speaking, that it felt totally real. There are some visual effects used here and there -- placing actors playing Secret Service men into scenes with Bush, for example -- but it's handled with expertise and nothing really jars on that front.

The film holds up well, too, in tone and feel in comparison with similar movies, documentaries, etc that we've all seen on the JFK evidence and conspiracies, meaning that it has good "real" feel to it, even though there are a couple of instances where it was perhaps overacted a tiny bit. Nothing too over the top, but just the odd chink in the armour of naturalism.

What is key, though, is how scary are the prospects of what would happen in such a situation. The erosion of personal liberties in the post-9/11 world fully informs this film, and it takes but the smallest of leaps in imagination to guess what type of shit would be acceptable after the assassination of a president in the third millennium.

Stirring stuff, this. I give it 66 out of 100.

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Blogger Suze said...

I must admit the subject matter would not make me want to watch this but I may just give it a try.

btw, your sidebar has slipped to the bottom of the page.

10 October, 2006 10:52  
Blogger Shep said...

Just turned up via Broadband fairy. Will review soon too.

Sidebar just fine here!

10 October, 2006 11:09  
Blogger Tanya said...

I missed that, unfortunately.

I have heard about the controversy surrounding it though.

10 October, 2006 15:00  
Blogger a.c.t said...

I didn't see it either as it got terrible reviews, but then again, there are lots of films I like that get bad reviews. I remember you reviewed A Tale of two Sisters a while back ) I saw it at the weekend and was really enjoying it until I fell asleep at the end. I remember stuff about a big bag and somebody hitting it at but that's all I remember from the end. I did catch the twist though.
Blogger is totally playing up, I can't see any of your pictures.

10 October, 2006 15:07  
Blogger martinobhoy said...

Perhaps the scariest thing about the whole film was President Cheney!

10 October, 2006 18:39  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How do you rate something as 68? What would it take to move to being a 69 or 67? (No smutty jokes please).

10 October, 2006 20:17  
Blogger Reel Fanatic said...

Great review ... I like my movies like I like my coffee, black and hard to swallow, so I'm definitely looking forward to the issues raised by this one

10 October, 2006 21:33  
Blogger The_'Real'_Batman said...

Average. A bit implausible but the way they portrayed Bush as a human being I liked.

10 October, 2006 22:14  
Blogger Gardenia said...

the theatre here only gets crap, I hope I get to see this........

bush is a human being? ohhhh, i did not say that.

11 October, 2006 06:46  
Blogger * (asterisk) said...

Suze: Not showing your Republican side, are you? If you get a chance, it's worth seeing, though.

Shep: Look forward to hearing your views.

Tanya: Check it out on rerun maybe...

ACT: I've long given up taking any notice of reviews (except mine of course, such as they are). Bear in mind that in this instance many negative reviews probably come from the perspective of Bush supporters or people who think the topic itself is taboo. I kept drifting off during A Tale of Two Sisters, too! Weird.

Martino: Yeah... God, just imagine!

11 October, 2006 08:38  
Blogger * (asterisk) said...

RD: I first think in terms of marks out of 5. This was definitely worth 3 out of 5, but it wasn't worth 4, so it falls somewhere between 60 and 80. Then I go to my movie ratings and decide which films it was better and worse than and give it a score on that basis.

Reel Fanatic: Thanks. For my money it wasn't a bad movie. Certainly better than a lot of what comes out of Hollywood with $200m budgets anyway.

Batman: Like I said to RF above, better than a lot of movies. Taken as a political document of some sort, sure it'll fall short, but at the end of the day it's a bit of fiction. How many other films have you watched and enjoyed even though they're implausible? I know I've seen plenty. I get the sense, though, that you liked it more than you thought you would, no? Personally, I thought they could've downplayed the nice-guy Bush stuff, but I appreciate that they had to show how well his aides thought of him.

Diana: If you get the chance, do see it. And yeah, I'm not convinced that GWB is a human being either...

11 October, 2006 08:49  
Blogger Karen said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

11 October, 2006 13:48  
Blogger Karen said...

Yep - that was me! I thought my previous comment had been deleted but then realized that this was the 2nd posting regarding the movie. Silly me! Sorry about that.

Frolics with Cephalopods? You dirty boy...

11 October, 2006 15:41  
Blogger * (asterisk) said...

Thanks Karen. Got me all confused! Yes, I do love those cephalopods...

11 October, 2006 18:54  
Blogger * (asterisk) said...

And I've revised my rating down a couple of points, from 68 to 66.

11 October, 2006 18:55  

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