American President George W. Bush is assassinated by an unknown gunman on October the 19th, 2007 in Chicago. A documentary is made a few years after, tracing the events of that fateful day. The various protestors outside the Chicago hotel where the late President delivered his speech, the angry mobsters breaking the barriers, interviews with the Secret Service men and other experts as well as the words of the wife of the convicted are all (apparently) captured vividly on film.
The British movie uses pre existing footage of George W. Bush and CGI effects help to create the scenes of his assassination.
British director Gabriel Range filmed a similar fictitious project called The Day Britain Stopped in 2003. He is obviously quite experienced at doing this sort of thing and Death of a President comes online across as exceptionally real, especially after he inserts words in the mouth of Bush and other dignitaries as they deliver their speeches and redoes newsreels to suit his purpose. The commentary relating current events – the protestors are angry because of Iraq, North Korea and failed home economic policies – helps as well. The film’s best segment has a scene of a speech delivered by Bush crosscut with an interview by Bush’s speech writer.
Most people will watch Death of a President for free online looking for controversy. But Death of a President is relatively harmless stuff for the main reason that the audience knows all is fake and staged. What transpires in the film after the assumed death of the president is nothing shocking. Director Range purports that a wrongly accused Muslim would be tried and convicted. The guilty party will be overlooked and goes free, though guilty as hell. These will most likely happen as the administration has been already exposed to their lies and complacency as revealed in films like Who Killed The Electric Car?, An Inconvenient Truth and of course, Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11.
What is interesting is the way any fabrication can be made by the media to look true. But what is controversial is when the truth is disguised as fake. That is the reason Who Killed The Electric Car? and An Inconvenient Truth turn out to be the more controversial documentaries. An important question arises: if it was a fictitious president instead of Bush that was assassinated, would the rest of Range’s movie have changed at all? Probably not one bit.