Trailer for Death of a President.
British director Gabriel Range imagines the aftereffects of the assassination of George W. Bush in this fictional documentary ('mockumentary' seems too playful a word for this relentlessly taut film) set in 2008. Range uses real news footage, staged scenes (shot on high-res video but cleverly doctored to resemble grainy satellite news images and security-camera tapes), and phony talking-head interviews to create a compelling and believable thriller for the CNN generation. He even adds some whodunit elements, along with philosophical musings about post-9/11 civil liberties, the psychological effects of war, and the multilayered impact that such a murder would have on the world. What makes Range's story so believable--in addition to the excellent performances by the 'interviewees' playing FBI agents, beat cops, advisers, and suspects--is the wide scope of political and personal viewpoints given equal voice. The president is seen as neither a hero nor a villain; his advisers and security team are loyal and even-keeled but not without their own irrational prejudices, and the assassin's motives, while not condoned, are made to seem understandable. This is a deeply compassionate look at a fictional situation that could very well become a reality--rather than lulling viewers with escapism, Range asks them to consider the consequences of the events unfolding all around them.