Death of a President Reviews

Top Critic
David Edelstein
New York Magazine/Vulture
October 30, 2006
What's missing is shapeliness, suspense, narrative cunning, visual flair -- in short, art. Are we really to believe that a network of the future would broadcast such a barbiturate?
Top Critic
Scott Tobias
AV Club
October 28, 2006
Range comes about these issues in a provocative way, but they're still worth discussing, aren't they?
Full Review | Original Score: B
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Dana Stevens
Slate
October 27, 2006
Just as the ducks get lined up in a row and we're ready for the movie to reveal its true purpose -- Political satire? Paranoid dystopian fantasy? Apologia for the Bush administration? -- we suddenly realize it has none.
Top Critic
Peter Howell
Toronto Star
October 27, 2006
Every thinking person should see Death of a President.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Moira MacDonald
Seattle Times
October 27, 2006
Death of a President is thought-provoking, but as much for 'how'd they do that?' as for its ideas.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Mick LaSalle
San Francisco Chronicle
October 27, 2006
Even people who think George W. Bush is the worst American-made disaster since President James Buchanan will have no trouble recognizing Death of a President for the lousy thing it is.
Full Review | Original Score: 1/4
Top Critic
Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
October 27, 2006
The fact of the Bush years far outdoes Range's dull fiction. The only thing that shook me was the idea of Cheney as president. Now that is the stuff of nightmares.
| Original Score: 1.5/4
Top Critic
Stephen Whitty
Newark Star-Ledger
October 27, 2006
It will only leave Bush supporters wondering how one man can put up with so much hate. And it may leave Bush critics asking why they just spent $10 and 90 minutes on something that's more controversy than content.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Jack Mathews
New York Daily News
October 27, 2006
D.O.A.P. offers no information, insights or ideas that a couple of political science majors couldn't come up with while hanging out between classes.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Colin Covert
Minneapolis Star Tribune
October 27, 2006
While it dazzlingly manipulates snippets of film to create a genuine-looking docudrama, its knee-jerk, black-and-white political imagination never equals its technical expertise.
| Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Rene Rodriguez
Miami Herald
October 27, 2006
Aside from satisfying some kind of ghoulish curiosity about how such an incident could possibly happen, there's precious little in Death of a President to justify the extremity of its central conceit.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Rick Groen
Globe and Mail
October 27, 2006
Death of a President is a masterly piece of documentary chicanery that kills George W. Bush without once pandering to his legions of ill-wishers.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Tom Long
Detroit News
October 27, 2006
Death of a President manages to be predictable and astounding at the same time.
Full Review | Original Score: C+
Top Critic
Terry Lawson
Detroit Free Press
October 27, 2006
To the credit of Range and Simon Finch, with whom he wrote the screenplay, it makes its point and poses its moral questions without speeches or quotation marks.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Robert Denerstein
Denver Rocky Mountain News
October 27, 2006
I won't tell you how the story resolves the question of who killed the president. I will tell you that it involves a careless reading of American society by a director who apparently hasn't totally thought through what he's saying.
| Original Score: D+
Top Critic
Lisa Kennedy
Denver Post
October 27, 2006
There's a cowardice at work here. Playing with the powerful tools of documentary, it poses as artistically courageous when it's often little more than a muddied if familiar meditation on the sorry state of affairs the U.S. finds itself in in Iraq.
Full Review | Original Score: 1.5/4
Top Critic
Richard Roeper
Chicago Sun-Times
October 27, 2006
I give nothing away by telling you the president dies. From that point on, the film's most egregious offense is becoming predictable and heavy-handed.
Full Review | Original Score: 1.5/4
Top Critic
Jonathan Rosenbaum
Chicago Reader
October 27, 2006
[DOAP] wants to function as a mindless thriller that eventually makes us think -- and only after the film is over question the form that encouraged us to be mindless. These are incompatible agendas, and in the end neither is fully successful.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Ty Burr
Boston Globe
October 27, 2006
The whole film has the whiff of a low-cost documentary unspooling on a basic cable channel on Sunday afternoon when you should be out raking leaves.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Christy Lemire
Associated Press
October 27, 2006
And the point is ... what, exactly?
Top Critic
Ann Hornaday
Washington Post
October 26, 2006
As skillful an artist as (director Gabriel) Range clearly is, he has gone to an awful lot of trouble to make a painfully obvious point about threats to civil liberties in a post-9/11 world.
Top Critic
Peter Rainer
Christian Science Monitor
October 26, 2006
(Director Gabriel) Range employs digital effects to rejigger real footage of Bush and others, and he's fairly adept at action filmmaking.
Full Review | Original Score: B-
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Eleanor Ringel Gillespie
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
October 26, 2006
(Director Gabriel) Range does a pretty good and sometimes very good job of laying out a disturbing narrative that's certain to provoke a lot of after-the-movie discussion.
Full Review | Original Score: B
Top Critic
Carina Chocano
Los Angeles Times
October 26, 2006
Eerie, tense and immediate as Death of a President looks and feels, it doesn't contribute much of anything new to the discourse.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Top Critic
Gene Seymour
Newsday
October 26, 2006
The film itself becomes its own worst enemy, subverting its attempts at subtlety in the name of ideological urgency.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
A.O. Scott
New York Times
October 26, 2006
The best that can be said about Gabriel Range's opportunistic fake-umentary is that it faithfully recreates the tone and rhythm of a second-rate American television program.
| Original Score: 2/5
Top Critic
Bruce Newman
San Jose Mercury News
October 26, 2006
Despite the intentionally controversial depiction of the murder of a sitting U.S. president, the movie never arrives at the shocking conclusions a picture like this seems to cry out for.
| Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Kyle Smith
New York Post
October 26, 2006
Those expecting a cinematic Molotov cocktail are in for a dose of NyQuil.
| Original Score: .5/4
Top Critic
Michael Phillips
Chicago Tribune
October 26, 2006
The flaw in Death of a President isn't one of morality. It's one of dramatic interest.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Andrew O'Hehir
Salon.com
October 25, 2006
Range has a marvelous feel for the clichés and conventions of TV-news documentary, and the tone of mournful elegy he strikes here is both convincing and -- believe me, I'm shocked to be writing this -- moving.
Top Critic
Owen Gleiberman
Entertainment Weekly
October 25, 2006
Death of a President begins as a disturbingly clever stunt but concludes as a contradiction, a political nightmare of haunting banality.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
Top Critic
James Berardinelli
ReelViews
October 24, 2006
Death of a President is celluloid mediocrity. It's neither interesting nor convincing.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
J. Hoberman
Village Voice
October 24, 2006
There's a far more subversive political mock-umentary coming next week. I invite President Bush, Senator Clinton, and all politicians to get down with Borat.
Top Critic
Stephanie Zacharek
Salon.com
September 20, 2006
It's a stunt more than a movie, and if this is what's passing for intelligent liberal thought in this (or any other) country, we're really in trouble.
Top Critic
Joe Morgenstern
Wall Street Journal
September 14, 2006
Mr. Range is a talented man who knows how to control images and emotions, up to a point. By virtue of its subject, however, Death of a President takes on an unreal life of its own. The film itself becomes a riderless horse.
Top Critic
Kirk Honeycutt
Hollywood Reporter
September 13, 2006
Although slick and clever, the ethnics of this fake docu about an imagined assassination of Bush are woeful.
Top Critic
Todd McCarthy
Variety
September 12, 2006
Layering the sense of dread with measured expertise, Range does a formidable job visualizing the circumstances surrounding the crime.