A movie that hardly needs an ad campaign

Death of a President doesn’t open in the U.S. until Friday, and already the British mockumentary has garnered a chorus of boos, which functions nicely as free advertising for the film. Perhaps that response is to be expected of a “what if” exercise that imagines the assassination of a political leader who still happens to be breathing. In this case, it’s George W. Bush, and the year is 2007. (The film aired on TV earlier this month in the U.K., where it was promoted with questionable newspaper ads.) The screening I attended in New York last week was crammed to the gills, with lines snaking around the bend. Taking in this phenom, a fellow writer in line with me cracked, “Give the people what they want.” That could work as a tagline for marketing the film in blue states. (As it stands, Newmarket Films is using the line “Do not rush to judge.”) With this film and the short story in Esquire called “The Death of Derek Jeter,” imaginary celebrity deaths are suddenly hot.

—Posted by Laura Blum