When conservative pundits first heard of this faux documentary, they likely thought it was some kind of hardcore partisan tactic -- or else just a sick joke. But Death of a President doesn't have nearly the political agenda you might imagine. Yes, it presents a fictitious scenario in which the actual sitting president actually gets assassinated, on a date a full year after the film's release -- which gave it an air of eerie possibility for those who saw it in theaters or soon after. Such a project was unheard of at best, in poor taste at worst. But through the fond recollections of witnesses and other involved parties, Death of a President actually manages to lionize George W. Bush more than it vilifies him, saving its sharpest implied criticisms for the teeming protestors, whose vitriol helps enable the fatal security breach. What may be even more surprising is that there isn't a hint of a wink from British director Gabriel Range. The events that transpire are entirely plausible, and are presented with an unnerving straightforwardness, often involving the controversial use of real speeches and news footage, its audio and video manipulated to the context of the film. The thing is, even though the whole shebang is carried off with total verisimilitude, aided by an anonymous cast disappearing into their roles, Range can't elevate D.O.A.P. above the level of curiosity. It's an exceedingly watchable curiosity, but not an important one. There may be the underlying implication that Bush's policies could drive a person to murderous lengths, but otherwise, Range fails to produce any discernible message. Whether that's to soften a tough sell, or owing to a lack of conviction, it's hard to say. What he ends up with is basically an elaborate gimmick, with more value as a publicity stunt than art.