There's little doubt in my mind that if anything, the film will help House Republicans this fall.
But it's so shallow and simplistic in its portrayals, among which are:
There's more but that's enough. Maybe my friend's full of crap and this isn't how it plays out but he's always been right before.
I watch movies for one of 2 reasons - to be entertained or to be informed. I don't believe this one will do either.
And I don't know this for sure but with such a shallow, simplistic premise I'm inclined to believe that it isn't very well done and the filmaker is relying on shock value and people wanting to see Bush shot (which takes up a minimal part of the movie) to get people into theaters rather than quality. There are plenty of ways to film a movie about the abuses of power - and even use the office of the Presidency - through the use of fictional characters.
And whatever else it is, a movie that portrays the killing of a living, real Human Being is in poor taste.
First use of the spoiler button - hope I did it right.
Nice to see our private messages are kept private here.
Ehmm... will have to aggree with Bulletproof on this Hicks. There's a reason these are called "Private Messages".
2012 PD ABA Fantasy Keeper League Champion, sports.ws
2011 PD ABA Fantasy Keeper League Champion, sports.ws
2006 PD ABA Fantasy League runner up, sports.ws
So when he belittles me where others can't hear, it's OK. I see.
Sorry, I see your (and his) point, Mourning, but I don't respect saying something like that in private to save public face.
You can always reply him in a PM that you don't like that sort of behavior and if he were to continue that threaten and if needed apply a ban on him.
However, private is private. Just my opinion.
I see your point, I personally would have done it differently. Back on topic now.
2012 PD ABA Fantasy Keeper League Champion, sports.ws
2011 PD ABA Fantasy Keeper League Champion, sports.ws
2006 PD ABA Fantasy League runner up, sports.ws
Whoa. Is everything we edit or PM going to be used against us in the future? That's kind of chilling.
If the film is truly thought-provoking and well-done, than I don't think hypothetically killing the President will be in bad taste. Just as long as it serves a meaningful purpose. If the questions it raises are worthwhile and meaningful, then they should overshadow the killing of the president. If we are able to look at the film for the questions/thoughts it raises instead of the killing of the President, then the film has done its job properly.
Now, if what DK posted (in spoilers) is what happens in the film, than I'd say killing the president was in bad taste. If all it serves is to make the Bush Administration out to be something like the Third Reich, then the film is nothing but a biased political film. I'm no fan of Bush, but that's taking it a bit far.
Why is this tasteless, but movies where entire cities are destoyed are not?
Is this tasteless I believe it is to some but to others this film is a testament to our constitution.
It would say much more if the president would address a film like this and let everyone
know that he is above it and believes every man/woman has a right to view it if they want to.
Would I watch it? NO but thats because of my personal beliefs.
He's the most powerful man in the world - it's only natural to wonder. There's nothing tasteless about that in my opinion.
Nobody in their right mind will see this as anything but a piece of fiction.
If you want to see entertainment that's truly tasteless, start with snuff films, move on to "rape" porn and go from there.
This isn't even a blip on that scale.
How would people feel if there a nuclear bomb was dropped on Iran and then went on to justify Bush's policies? I would call that propaganda.
I see this film in the same light--just another polemic excerise which will either confirm or harden the viewer's bias. Hardly what I would call art. Again it doesn't mean that a Brit can't have his views, I just don't feel I have to call it brave or worthwhile either.
Disclaimer: Again, I realize I haven't seen the film. Perhaps it will be great, but I am skeptical.
"They could turn out to be only innocent mathematicians, I suppose," muttered Woevre's section officer, de Decker.
"'Only.'" Woevre was amused. "Someday you'll explain to me how that's possible. Seeing that, on the face of it, all mathematics leads, doesn't it, sooner or later, to some kind of human suffering."
Let's go one step farther with this. Let's say a film maker who opposes the war in Iraq decides to do a fictional account that a draft has been imposed. He decides to use real names thinking this will impact peoples thoughts and he means well because in his mind this will actually prevent a draft from happening.
Let's just same if some movie producer/director decided to use your family, your kids, your brother, your sister, your father as one of their characters in a movie depicting being killed in war you would have no problem with it?
Now some could argue hey it's fictional, he/she is trying to prevent that from happening. You should thank them for caring about your family because it didn't happen. Then I should have the right to follow this jerk around, tell him I'm going to kill him, kill his family, but hey don't take it personal as I'm only joking. What I'm really doing is working on a novel, a screen play, I really don't mean it. I was just throwing this out there and wondering what would happen if this took place.
You know how hippos are made out to be sweet and silly, like big cows, but are actually extremely dangerous and can kill you with stunning brutality? The Pacers are the NBA's hippos....Matt Moore CBS Sports....
I agree with you RWB.
And Bulletproof, you really come off sounding like a real arrogant *** in the message. Do you truly believe you are better than everyone on this forum?
I realize that the message was meant to be private, but it is interesting to see what you say behind all of our backs as well about the people of the forum. You have a VERY high opinion of yourself. Quite possibly too high. In fact, I'm sure your opinion of yourself is definitely too high. You have no idea who most of the people are on this forum in regards to their education, training, jobs, etc. I'm fairly certain, you will find people in this forum who you regularly belittle with your statements as noted above, who probably swim in that "bigger" pond and would be considered much bigger fish than you but chose not to rub it in everyone face as you seem to regularly enjoy doing, privately or publicly.
Get over yourself.
I myself know that I'm no where near the top of the food chain in intelligence of most of these subjects, but I respect those around me for who they are and not rub their face in it when I think I know more than they do about a particular subject.
If anyone is still interested in this, here are a few reviews of the film from the Toronto International Film Festival:
Sep. 13, 2006
Death of a President
By Kirk Honeycutt
Bottom line: Although slick and clever, the ethics of this fake docu about an imagined assassination of Bush are woeful.
TORONTO -- Amid a slew of real documentaries and richly detailed non-fiction books illuminating the ways in which America's current leadership has used deceit and misinformation to advance its political agenda and engineer greater repression comes a fake documentary trying to do the same thing. Only the film, "Death of a President," uses the morally dubious tactic of mixing real news footage with staged events to create an imagined assassination of President George W. Bush.
As convincing as the manipulated footage of the President's death in Chicago in October 2007 is, the movie itself cannot be more unconvincing in its approach. Does it not occur to filmmaker Gabriel Range, as he takes his bows for his clever stunt, that the very forces he warns against will use his film as propaganda? Their line will be: If the enemies of President Bush can be so crass as to imagine his cinematic murder, then what value can one give to their arguments against our great leader's domestic and foreign policies? Range has just made Karl Rove's day.
Festival organizers have been gleefully crowing about this film since its inclusion in the Toronto Festival was announced at the last minute. But as unpleasant as this swaggering over a failed political movie has been, it's nothing compared to the unpleasantness of watching this skilled British docu-dramatist massage real footage and sound bytes to envision the murder of a person who, whether you like the man or not, is still very much alive.
Tellingly, the first half of the movie leading up to the assassination, where amazingly real street demonstrations get out of hand and tense Secret Service and police officers go on high alert, represents the dramatic high point of the film. When Range gets to the second half, where he must justify his slick manipulation of reality, the film bogs down with dry lessons in forensic evidence and legal strategies. It becomes a murder mystery without a detective hero or love interest.
The movie means to show how a Cheney Administration, in its zeal to link the killing to terrorism, scapegoats a Syrian-born man, against whom there is the flimsiest of evidence, while ignoring an American vet sickened by the needless carnage in Iraq. The film, made to look like a TV documentary filmed many months after the fact, strongly implies the government got the wrong man. But putting the Syrian on trial allows Dick Cheney to push through Congress a Patriot Act III, which further enhances the American police state and broadens the powers of the executive branch.
Among the clever though ethically challenged manipulations is a real presidential visit to the Windy City with the city's leadership occupying the dais with Bush, talking head interviews with grieving staffers and presidential guardians and a state funeral, presumably President Reagan's, doctored so Cheney can orate over his late predecessor's coffin.
There is certainly much to admire in the skillful blend of real and fake. One's admiration ends there.
Death of a President
By TODD MCCARTHY
Inflammatory more on a conceptual level than for the ideas it actually advances, the skillful docudrama "Death of a President" uses an imagined assassination of George W. Bush a year hence to explore how the American government might react to such an event and to post warning signs about the dangers of a rush to judgment in a climate all too conducive to instant finger-pointing. Shrewdly blending archival footage with staged material in ways that raise a host of separate issues, pic is calculatingly controversial on the face of things, designed to provoke gobs of media coverage and automatic outrage from those who haven't seen it. Such attention should assure theatrical release in key territories, although best prospects lie in cable (at least in the U.S.) and homevid.
From the very first moments, in which an Arabic-speaking woman bemoans the assassin's act and asks, "Why didn't he think about the consequences of his actions?," it is firmly suggested that this is not a film that advocates the killing of Bush. Assembled soberly and credibly in the style of a TV history docu about the event made well after the fact, the picture spends its first half recounting the day--October 19, 2007--leading up to the president's shooting in front of a Chicago hotel, and the second analyzing the search for suspects and the hasty push for justice.
English director and co-writer Gabriel Range knows his way around the docu style and the manipulation of footage for his own alarmist purposes, having three years ago made "The Day Britain Stopped," another speculative piece about the collapse of the country's transportation grid and its calamitous result. Range is on a path to becoming the intellectual Irwin Allen, a disaster specialist working in the brainy realm of faux analytical documentaries, a mini-genre arguably initiated by Peter Watkins more than four decades ago with "The War Game."
Layering the sense of dread with measured expertise, Range does a formidable job visualizing the circumstances surrounding the crime. As insights are offered key personnel--secret service agents, police, the president's speech writer, an activist and many others, all believably impersonated by actors--TV news-type coverage documents Bush's arrival in Chicago, the arrival of his motorcade into the midst of a hugely unruly demonstration featuring 12,000 protestors and the president's speech to a group of the city's economic leaders (a real event here used fictionally).
The demonstration scenes, evidently staged on the streets of Chicago especially for the film, are amazingly realistic and rep the film's high point in terms of vivid docudrama filmmaking. Many of the protestors have a feral, savage horde quality quite unlike their counterparts in the most famous film to have documented real-life Chicago political street battles, Haskell Wexler's "Medium Cool," and their burst beyond proscribed barriers and the resulting surge of police resemble frightening natural eruptions.
Despite the misgivings of the main secret service man, Bush insists upon walking the rope line on the way out of the hotel, which is where he's hit by two bullets from an unseen source. The president is pushed into his limo and rushed to Northwestern Hospital as hysteria ensues. This key sequence, which comes 25 minutes in, could have been presented gruesomely and exploitatively but is not; Bush's face, grafted in digitally, is fleetingly seen, but there's no impact or slow motion and it all happens in a flurry.
Then there's the waiting period, during which time authorities hurriedly assess where the shots may have come from and search for suspects. It's quickly determined that the shooter was positioned on the twentieth floor of the building across the street. A rifle is found, video surveillance footage is examined and numerous men are rounded up.
Soon after the president expires from his wounds, at pic's midway point, a certain Jamal Abu Zikri is arrested, his name leaked to the media with suspicious speed. Employed in the building across the street, Zikri is Syrian and, although he initially denies it, formerly served in that country's army. Once it's learned he also associated with a rabble-rousing Muslim cleric in the Chicago projects and traveled to Pakistan and Afghanistan, everyone's satisfied that Zikri's the man they want.
Pressure is ratcheted up on Syria, and President Cheney quickly pushes through Patriot Act III, which gives the government further powers to fight terrorism domestically. Perhaps the film's most remarkable--or dubious, depending upon one's perspective--sequence in one in which Cheney is seen to be presiding over his predecessor's state funeral, extolling his greatness to the distinguished assembly. One actually sees Cheney himself standing before a flag-bedraped casket at just such a funereal, and one can only presume that what we hear are ingeniously edited excerpts from a speech he gave in honor of a recently deceased government luminary.
After the elaborate set-up, the film curiously narrows in the last stretch devoted to Kikri's trial and related events. Far too much time is given over to forensic evidence, and when a possible alternative shooter comes into view, the concerns of the film are reduced nearly to those of a standard-issue murder mystery.
The film implicitly links the "conveyor belt" process by which Kikri has been charged, tried and convicted to the assumptions portrayed as truth by the Bush Administration and many others that led to the Iraq invasion, the almost automatic linking of Al-Qaeda to every terrorist incident and so on. It's this change of mindset, the instant associations that now connect to anything Islamic or that might be perceived as threatening the United States, that are the film's chief subjects. It's a point of view very much at odds with the administration line, but the argument is presented in a non-hysterical way that invites debate.
Disappointingly, "Death of a President" shrinks from its promise as a piece of genuinely radical or adventurous speculative fiction. For a while, the film references world events that parallel the domestic tragedy, such as flare-ups concerning North Korea and the challenge to Syria. Final section jumps seven months ahead, or to May, 2008, offering the possibility of mentioning such pertinent matters as a Cheney run for reelection, a widening of the Middle East conflict and further U.S. muscle flexing. But there's nothing of the sort. By concentrating solely on the details of the crime, the filmmakers deny themselves the greatest visionary possibilities offered by their premise.
The film also raises provocative questions as to the ethics of doctoring real footage to fictional or ideological ends, as well as to the responsibility of even presenting such heinous potential crimes in the context of would-be popular entertainment and thus possibly putting ideas into the heads of the easily suggestible. All this provides plenty of fodder for pontification by cultural commentators.
Technically, the film is exceptional.
TIFF: Who shot Bush?
by Jim Emerson
Editor, RogerEbert.com / September 12, 2006
TORONTO -- "Death of a President," the documentary-style speculative fiction about the assassination of the 43rd President of the United States, is seamless, intelligent and maybe even necessary to an understanding of George W. Bush's role in the world today, and his place in the wider scope of history. Especially when public awareness of the facts about his administration lags so far behind what has already been documented.
Written and directed by Gabriel Range, this very convincingly staged television "documentary" falls into a tradition of fictionalized British films (going back to Peter Watkins' famous "The War Game" and "Punishment Park" in the early 1960s) that use nonfiction techniques to explore contemporary social and political issues. Range himself made a film in 2003 called "The Day Britain Stopped," about what might happen if public transportation came to a standstill. Before that, he made "The Menendez Murders" (2002), described as another form of docu-drama.
The scenario is a familiar one: What would happen if a much-hated world leader was killed in office? Since the failed assassination attempts on Adolph Hitler, fictions imagining how things might have changed with the elimination of one powerful figure have fascinated historians and the public. How could they not?
We all know that four U.S. presidents have been assassinated, and that every president faces that threat every day. Gerald Ford, one of our most benign chief executives, survived two murder attempts in the month of September 1975 alone -- and he was never as divisive and generally reviled as Bush Jr., whose methods and ideology have been vilified as Hitlerian in real-life speeches and demonstrations that we've all seen already. (I'm speaking only about the real-life hatred the man has evoked worldwide, not the aptness of the Nazi comparison or whether such virulence is justified by his words and actions in office.)
"Death of a President" sticks to the assassination and the search for the killer, without exploring the domestic or global political repercussions of an official Cheney administration -- or even whether President Cheney runs for re-election. It covers events from October, 2007, to about a year later. What the film does is to take the real events that have characterized the Bush administration -- particularly its most infamous political modus operandi of marshaling selected and manufactured "facts" to fit a preordained conclusion -- and transpose them from the past into the future. When a forensics expert talks about the evidence against a suspect as being supportive but, in itself, inconclusive (nine points of comparison on a single fingerprint), and says he was told repeatedly to "look again" to strengthen a weak case, it's exactly like the CIA analysts who were interviewed in several "Frontline" documentaries talking about the phony case the administration made for the invasion of Iraq.
There is talk of the hundreds of people -- including American citizens -- who suddenly "vanished" from the US after 9/11, rounded up and detained indefinitely in shadow prisons abroad. Something similar happens after the assassination. "Patriot Act III" is passed in the immediate aftermath of Bush's death, giving the FBI and Homeland Security more unspecified surveillance and arrest "powers" -- when what's really needed is stricter adherence to existing procedures and (better analysis of existing intelligence).
The Bush assassination, which takes place outside the Sheraton Hotel in downtown Chicago, is politically exploited, just like 9/11, within hours. President Cheney looks for any excuse to go after Syria. A likely suspect is identified in an article on "page 3 or 4" of the Chicago Sun-Times, but somehow that story never catches the public's attention and is overlooked by officials more interested in job security and appearances. Again, just like the run-up to the invasion of Iraq.
Everyone seems to agree that the anti-Bush demonstrations in Chicago that day were exceptionally angry. A top Chicago police official says he may disagree with the demonstrators, but that they have the right to protest. But, he claims, the key language in the First Amendment says such expressions must be "peaceful and law-abiding." There is no such language in the First Amendment, of course, but I wouldn't be surprised to find that millions of Americans think there is. On the other hand, as a Secret Service agent explains, his job is to protect the president, and when demonstrators break police lines, actually stop the motorcade and come into contact with the presidential vehicle, that is no longer free speech but a direct security threat. I wouldn't contest that at all.
Most of all, "Death of a President" is electrifying drama, and compellingly realistic. The actors chosen for interview segments (including the mom from "Freaks & Geeks" as a presidential speechwriter) are unerringly authentic as real people, speaking spontaneously before a documentary lens -- even when it's clear they've rehearsed in their heads what they're going to say, and may even have told these same stories any number of times before. (An arrogant interrogator is particularly convincing in telling self-aggrandizing anecdotes about his assessment and treatment of a suspect.)
There's no reason to be threatened by this film, any more than there was to be by "United 93" or "World Trade Center." It's responsible and observant about the world we live in -- and it's certainly not going to give anybody any ideas they haven't had already. In its use of real or fictionalized narratives to examine recent political events -- especially the aftermath of 9/11 and the invasion of Iraq -- "Death of a President" isn't all that different from innumerable other films in this year's festival, from "The Host" to "Pan's Labyrinth" to "Rescue Dawn."
"Death of a President" has been in the Toronto festival guides as "D.O.A.P." (or "dope"), as if the actual title of the film was too inflammatory for publication (perhaps in the way the comedy "The Pope Must Die" was retitled in America as "The Pope Must Diet"). The "D.O.A.P." designation does not appear on the movie itself. At the press/industry screening Tuesday morning, however, the acronym was conjured by an anti-Bush protest sign in the film that got a good laugh from the international audience: "Solid as a Rock. Only Dumber."
P.S. Throughout the festival, men in short-sleeved white shirts have stood in the aisles during press screenings shooting infrared video of the crowd. During the movie, mind you. Ostensibly, this is just a distracting and intrusive anti-piracy measure -- the price you pay for, well, watching a movie. I guess the idea is that if the tapes show any members of the audience photographing what's on the screen, they can be tracked down and prosecuted. No word about those who just pick their noses or itch their butts, but I'm sure a compilation of that footage will eventually appear somewhere -- perhaps on the Internet. I can't tell you, though, how disconcerting it was to see these guys filming us as we watched "Death of a President" and the film talked about the new surveillance procedures allowed under "Patriot Act III." If I disappear trying to legally cross back into the U.S. (I'm a citizen), please look for me.
There's another documentary in the festival, JT Petty's "S&MAN," about a creepy "underground" horror filmmaker who shoots a series of stalker movies, following women on the street and to their jobs and then "killing" them. He makes his living selling these on DVD, and their appeal is based in the fact that they appear to be real voyeuristic material. As far as I'm concerned, the creeps with the cameras at TIFF may as well be doing the same thing.