Gabriel Range's sober, cautionary faux documentary was denounced reflexively — in many cases, sight unseen — for daring to dramatize the assassination of a sitting president. But inciting politically motivated murder is the farthest thing from Range's mind — following in the footsteps of filmmakers like Kevin Brownlow and Andrew Mollo (IT HAPPENED HERE, 1966), Peter Watkins (THE WAR GAME, 1965) and Mick Jackson (THREADS, 1984), he uses fake events to examine real issues. His film is less about the fatal shooting of a president than about what happens next
, and Range's real concern is post-9/11 fearmongering and its corrosive effect on democratic ideals. In 200...