Time will tell whether Range's
gift for prophecy holds up. Given the growing antipathy towards Bush and the
spiralling disaster of the Iraq War, you have to wonder if the president will
still be talking as confidently a year now. On one level, Death of a President
plays as an incredibly realistic political thriller or whodunit. It can be taken
as simple entertainment, despite Range's stated intentions he's not out to amuse
the idly curious or to sate the bloodthirsty.
The film's deeper intentions are far more urgent, and elevate it into the company of such landmark works of historical argument as Peter Watkins's The War Game, Costa-Gavras's Z and, closer to home, Michel Brault's Les Ordres. Every thinking person should see Death of a President.
Range focuses on something that has been out of focus and out of proportion since 9/11: the proper response by civilized people and nations to acts of aggression. By so realistically conjuring an event that is horrific by any standards, and by examining the reaction to it, he is asking if we have learned any lessons from 9/11 and associated traumas, or whether we are forever condemned to repeat the history we all seem so eager to forget.
Theatrical Release: September 10th, 2006 - Toronto Film Festival
DVD Review: Optimum - Region 2 - PAL
|DVD Box Cover||
CLICK to order from:
|Distribution||Optimum - Region 2 - PAL|
Average Bitrate: 5.83 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s
NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.
|Audio||English (Dolby Digital 5.1), English (Dolby Digital 2.0)|
|Subtitles||None (burned-in when there is non-English dialogue)|
• Director commentary
wit the creator of 'Death of President'/
This looks to have been shot on video and bumped to 35mm - it looks very good - clean, bright - the transfer is anamorphic and progressive. The intended haze of archival news footage gives accuracy to the films projected intent. Blacks levels are a little heavy and some may find that moiring occurs. There are no optional subtitles - however subs are displayed when non-English dialogue is spoken. There is a, largely untested, 5.1 track and a 2.0 stereo option - both sounded quite good to my ear - the 5.1 obviously more buoyant.
There is a commentary with director Gabriel Range who discusses the strong festival reaction to his film - its political perceptions including accusations of being anti-Bush, while others claim it does not go far enough in that direction. Regardless, the controversy definitely fuelled the films interest as it was one of the hardest to see entries in this years TIFF (where it debuted).
I was impressed with the films ability to project a highly realistic vision of a potentially volatile event - I'm sure it could shift some opinions and have some influence, although this shouldn't be considered the objective. It is, in all truth, just fictional entertainment - which, for myself, succeeded to some degree. I enjoyed it.