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AICN Hawaii! Albert Lanier Reviews DEATH OF A PRESIDENT!!

Hey, everyone. ”Moriarty” here. Haven’t seen it. Not particularly compelled to see it. But I’m certainly curious to see what Albert thought of it:

CHICAGO-On October 19, 2007 after addressing a meeting of the Economic Club of Chicago at that city's Sheraton Hotel, President George W. Bush was shot to death. Shots rang out after 8 p.m. as President Bush was greeting supporters and well-wishers standing behind rope lines just outside the entrance of the Sheraton hotel. Secret Service agents then swiftly got the President into his car and drove hurriedly to Northwestern Hospital where Bush was treated. Doctors at Northwestern told reporters that the President had been hit by two bullets, one of which penetrated his heart before breaching the wall of one of his lungs. President Bush was pronounced dead after 1 a.m. on the morning of October 20th. Vice President Richard Cheney has already taken the Presidential Oath of Office and has assumed the office of the Presidency. Authorities believe the fatal shots that killed the president came from a nearby office building-422 N. Park Street A sniper rifle believed to be the murder weapon was found in a garbage chute. The rifle's serial numbers were filed or scratched off, an earmark of a possible professional killer noted representatives from Chicago's FBI office. Security cameras have picked up at least two figures entering the revolving doors of 422 N. Park building complex. One figure has been identified as Robert Molini, 28, a University of Illinois drop-out who has been involved in anti-war and anti-Bush protests. Molini was picked up by police and questioned by local police as well as FBI but was eventually released. The other man seen by security cameras has not yet been positively identified The shooting of President Bush took place in an atmosphere charged with anger and fury about the President and his foreign policy charges such as the ongoing war in Iraq. 12,000 protestors converged on the Sheraton during Bush's speech that night stretching local police resources to nearly the breaking point. That's what a newspaper article might look like if the scenario in Gabriel Range's controversial new film DEATH OF A PRESIDENT actually came true. The opening night film of the newly named Island Independent Film Festival(formerly known as Cinema Paradise) or IIFF, DEATH OF A PRESIDENT screened to a decent sized crowd at Hawaii's only indie film festival on Thursday, November 9th Now in its fifth year, IIFF only ran for 4 days this year-from Thursday, November 9th to Sunday, November 12th with films screened at the converted brick-walled loft/space "Next Door"in Downtown Honolulu which serves as a night club year round- with a slew of local and mainland musical artists performing there- when not used as a venue for a film festival and the Red Elephant cafe which also has a small 125 seat theater where indie films are shown every week on Tuesdays. DEATH OF A PRESIDENT is certainly the kind of film that this young film fest loves to program-controversial, thought-provoking and non-mainstream. Actually, DEATH OF PRESIDENT is presented as a mainstream documentary of sorts. What the film really is is a dramatic feature done in the form of a documentary or what I like to call a "crockumentary." Written by Brits Simon Finch and Gabriel Range and directed by Range, DEATH OF A PRESIDENT has been compared to another fairly famous "crockumentary" THE WAR GAME as well as the non-doc dramatic film SUDDENLY starring Frank Sinatra as a would-be Presidential Assassin (an interesting role for ol' blue eyes). THE WAR GAME is an apt comparison but another comparison I would put forward is the fakedoc DUDETOWN about the coalescing of a strike in a small town. I think DUDETOWN is similar to DEATH OF A PRESIDENT-not in its subject matter which is obvious-but the dedication and fidelity to making a unreal situation or event as real as possible. Director Range does a fine job of creating a believable atmosphere for this nightmare scenario to take place. For example, Range and his crew shoot effective enough footage simulating a massive demonstration on the Sheraton Hotel. Range and his editors also do a credible job of integrating "talking head interview" segments with real news footage and other "scenes". You also have to hand it Range his co-writer Simon Finch for constructing a plausible enough situation in their screenplay for an actual assassination. In addition, Range does a fine job extracting fine performances from his cast including Jay Patterson of SLUMS OF BEVERLY HILLS as Sam McCarthy, a White House correspondent; Robert Mangiardi as Greg Turner, the Chicago Police officer overseeing police protection at and near the Sheraton; Michael Reilly as FBI Special Agent in Charge Robert Maguire who heads the murder investigation; James Urbaniak as Dr. James Pearn, an FBI Forensic expert who is involved in the investigation. Not to mention Jay Whittaker as Frank Molini, Malik Bader as as Jamal Zikri, the reputed assassin and Tony Dale as Al Claybon. a veteran of the recent Iraq war who has his own theory about what happened to the President. These actors and others in the cast do a commendable, professional job of acting in a project that has and will be misinterpreted by politicians, pundits and reporters. Which gets me to the controversy. DEATH OF A PRESIDENT has been called "despicable" and "absolutely outrageous" by Senator Hillary Clinton (D-New York) who told the JOURNAL NEWS of upstate New York "That anyone would even attempt to profit on such a horrible scenario makes me sick." CNN and NPR refused to run ads for the film and the Regal and Cinemark chains refused to run the film in their cinemas. Though as a Freelance Journalist and Film critic, I don't agree with censorship, I also feel that theater chains have the right to pick up the indie films they wish to release-even if I disagree with a number of their choices. Likewise TV and radio stations also have to right to broadcast whatever ads they wish-even if I don't like some of their choices for ads broadcast over the airwaves or radiowaves. As for Senator Clinton, it is obvious that she has not seen the movie for DEATH OF A PRESIDENT is neither "despicable" or "outrageous". DEATH OF A PRESIDENT is an intelligent, reasonably thought out film that examines the age-old "What If" factor. What if President Bush were shot? What then? What's interesting about DEATH OF A PRESIDENT is that Bush is a supporting player of sorts. He dies and the film moves forward. The film does not obsess over Bush but probes investigatory apparatus, techniques and reasoning: the search for suspects, the hunt for evidence, the discovery of largely circumstantial evidence, the round-up of a suspect and trial and conviction of the suspect both in the media and in the courts. In the meantime, Patriot 3 is signed into law and law enforcement agents are given an even wider scope in which to hunt terrorists and bring criminals to justice. Is DEATH OF A PRESIDENT a good film? Yes, it is, far better than I expected it to be. Should everyone go see this film (if indeed it manages to play in your town)? No, some people will be offended by even the notion of Bush being killed. If you are one of those people, don't see the film. After all, most American moviegoers do not have wide cinematic tastes and there are dozens of films that millions of filmgoers wouldn't be caught dead seeing. However, if you are interested in seeing an well-done drama that examines a hypothetical event through the prism of documentary-like realism, then you want to check out DEATH OF A PRESIDENT. Oh, I almost forgot, time to end on an update. Jamal Zikri, a Syrian national believed by authorities to be the man who shot and killed President George W. Bush in Chicago in 2007, was found Guilty of the murder of the slain president in a courtroom on May 10,2008. A jury unanimously found Zikri guilty of using a sniper rifle to fire two shots into President Bush on October 19,2007 from a nearby office building at 422 N.Park Street just as the President was shaking hands with supporters just outside of the Sheraton Hotel. Zikri was arrested and questioned by FBI agents last year in connection with the death of President Bush. Zikri's fingerprints were also found at the sniper's nest at 422 N. Park street and on the sniper rifle believed to be the murder weapon. Though FBI forensic experts admitted that the prints were not an absolute clear match, the prints in evidence did conform to 9 points of comparison providing enough evidence to link Zikri to the scene of the crime. An investigation of Zikri revealed that he had previously served in the Syrian military. While visiting Pakistan for religious reasons in 2001, the FBI says that Zikri made a trip across the border to nearby Afghanistan to train at a terrorist camp. Zikri denied that he is a terrorist and called his trip to Afghanistan a "mistake. Zikri also contends that he had nothing to do with the killing of President Bush and is innocent of all charges
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