Death of a President Gabriel Range

Death of a President Gabriel Range
This is the movie Errol Morris would make if he faked his footage and wasn’t very bright: an ominous, button-pushing pseudo-documentary that tries to say so much but hasn’t a clue where to begin. Its hypothetical re-enactment of the events surrounding George W. Bush’s assassination is sort of aware that there would be high stakes and surging emotions surrounding the possible death of Texas’s most dubious son but it doesn’t ever fashion a reason for their involvement in the fiction it creates. Instead, the filmmakers drag a bunch of sheepish actors in front of the camera to make pompous talk about justice, failure of duty and public hysteria, never once stopping to consider the depth of the sentiments being plumbed. In fact, director Gabriel Range and company seem utterly oblivious to the true gravity of the situation, content to simply play up the already tense situation in America for what appears to be little more than bragging rights. Had the film had some satirical or critical point to make, the exercise might have made some sense, but though it smartens up late enough to come up with its own Lee Harvey Oswald patsy, it does so under the most cynically manipulative Uncle Tom circumstances. There’s a film to be made about fear and suspicion in the post-9/11 era but that one would have a greater degree of sensitivity — this one is as shamelessly opportunistic as the president they’ve decided to off. Extras include a sparse but semi-informative commentary with Range, a better talk track with Range dominating a bunch of his co-conspirators and a series of interviews with the director, co-writer and editor that sometimes rehash what was said in the commentaries (Maple)