I went last night with a couple good friends to see "Death of a President," one a frequent co-protestor and the other a very long-time friend and fellow native of D.C. We celebrated my birthday at a very good Chinese restaurant in the now rapidly dwindling Chinatown before we headed for Landmark's E Street Cinema. This is a great theater with a lot of very good independent and foreign films. It is also the only theater in the D.C. area to show this controversial film.
The acting is kind of mediocre, as I was unimpressed and couldn't suspend disbelief while watching the supposed heartfelt reflections of a Chicago police officer, an FBI agent, a Secret Service agent and President Bush's speechwriter on the infamous day of October 19, 2007. That's the day President Bush is assassinated. The actual shooting, in the lobby of a downtown Chicago hotel was kind of unexciting, and although the outcome of discovering who was indeed the assassin was unsurprising -- it was still disturbing. Despite the poor acting and somewhat predictable plot -- there are powerful moments.
However, I was annoyed by the way it portrayed the extremely rowdy and somewhat violent protestors on the streets of Chicago. This again reaffirmed in my mind why it is important for us to remain nonviolent in our resistance to this illegal and immoral war and the expression of dissent to the "war on terror" and the suspension of many of our civil liberties. I bet World Can't Wait/Revolutionary Communist Party will both be annoyed and perversely glad that their name was mentioned as one of the more extreme protest groups, along with pro-choicers and "nutty" environmentalists.
What is the scarriest thing about this movie is President Cheney and the quickening dissent into fascism. It honestly discusses the extreme unpopularity of the war and occupation of Iraq and the many human costs of the war, as well as racism and the disturbing belief Bush and many of his cronies have that he has somehow been selected by God.
Overall, it is worth going to watch. Not a great film, but a decent look at contemporary America and the frightening direction we are heading.