Assassination of a High School President [Blu-Ray] Brett Simon

Assassination of a High School President [Blu-Ray] Brett Simon
"Nobody is misunderstood. That's just what people say when they don't like who they are," spouts femme fatale Francesca Fachini (Mischa Barton), disguised appropriately as a high school hottie, as she dances with teen nobody turned gumshoe reporter Bobby Funke (Reece Daniel Thompson) to Band of Horses' "Funeral" at the Homecoming Dance. "Do you think I'm a bitch?" she asks. He hesitates and avoids the subject, leading to her aforementioned pearl of wisdom, which doesn't strike him as odd despite her never noticing him prior to his outing her school president boyfriend Paul (Patrick Taylor) for thieving the SATs. He's the patsy; she's the vixen; and Paul is the wild card in a slowly unravelling web of intrigue involving prescription drugs and naked bathtub tomfoolery. Setting a fast-talking play on noir in a high school isn't anything new - Brick got there first and with far more linguistic acuity - but the hostile terrain of nascent teen insecurities and cynical ruminations on a fractured world fit the genre effectively. Assassination of a High School President is part pulp, part Gossip Girl, with its sudsy dialogue interspersed with quaint juvenile observations and unabashed crudity about industrial strength pubic hair and tampon lollipops. There's a resultant accessibility to the material for a broader audience than the vastly superior Brick, even though the film itself is far less clever than it presents itself to be. An apathetic, washed-out aesthetic reinforces the overriding theme of worldly fallibility and disappointment, getting props for artistic consistency, but it still feels like something is missing after all the foreshadowing and crude double-entendres pass by and the credits roll prematurely. Perhaps it's the inherent predictability of the entire ordeal or the reliance on shock value and occasional unnecessary nudity to propel a lacklustre narrative. Or maybe it's the inclusion of actors like Michael Rapaport and Kathryn Morris for no discernable purpose beyond awkward cameos. It could be both. Regardless, an intriguing set up ultimately proves itself impotent, filling in the blanks with surprisingly limited complexity. The Blu-Ray is light on meaningful features, having a commentary track that's little more than buddies reminiscing and somewhat more protracted alternate scenes and openings. (eOne)