In my initial notes, I called Death of a President
the scam of the festival. After some reflection, that’s probably too
harsh. But it is a waste of a perfectly good controversy, and another
blow for the politcally aware audience which wants more films like Fog
of War and less of Michael Moore’s bluster and specious ‘factual’
In terms of construction, at least on the level of craft, D.O.A.P. may
be unprecedented. As a piece of culture-jamming along the lines of
those reassembled State of the Union addresses found on the internet,
the film is a technically excellent blend of faux-doc interviews,
dramatic recreation and digitally altered archive footage. If it had a
thought in it’s head, the film could be a powerhouse.
doesn’t, and watching it is a chore. Despite much clever craft, this is
that investigative procedural you might watch on Court TV if I Love The ’80s was a three-time rerun.
an issue that could possibly take center stage after the title’s action
occurs, and the film fails to explore it. What happens in Israel,
Jordan and Syria when a Syrian is fingered for the crime? What does a
revised Patriot Act really do to our lives? Does the public stand
behind Cheney, or abandon him?
So there’s criticism of police
behavior during protests and the ineffectiveness of law enforcement. So
what? Such topics have been covered before in WTO protest
documentaries, in televised exposes, even on Law and Order. All have done a better job.
goes way out on a limb to suggest that there might even be some racial
profiling. Are you kidding me? The prognostication offered is so
paltry, so devoid of insight or imagination that you might re-evaluate The Manchurian Candidate remake as a piece of powerful political thinking.
such as that aroused by this film’s concept shouldn’t be wasted so
lightly. This is the faux-doc equivalent of Snakes on a Plane — it’s
all right there in the title, with nothing more to offer.