This revisionist history lesson explores the events that followed lone gunman John Hinkley's attempt to kill President Reagan on March 10, 1981, in hopes of impressing actress Jodie Foster. The assassination attempt injured Reagan and several others, including White House Press Secretary Jim Brady, and while the basic facts of the incident were reported, Reagan's advisors covered up the life-threatening nature of his gunshot wound. The film depicts these events, as well as their aftermath.
As Reagan (Richard Crenna), Brady (John Connolly) and others are treated for the damage done by Hinckley's (Christian Lloyd) bullets, the media closes in and high-level government officials scramble. With the President unable to perform the duties of his office, White House pooh-bahs engage in a turf war as Vice-President Bush (Michael Greene) is stuck in a plane en route from Houston. Fearful of conveying weakness to hostile nations, Reagan's personal staff chooses not to invoke constitutional laws regarding succession of power. Although he had previously criticized Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger (Colm Feore) for aggravating strained relations with Russia, Secretary of State Alexander Haig (Richard Dreyfus) exacerbates the power void by unilaterally deciding to fill in for Bush. As right-wing anxiety floods the strategic conference room, Reagan loyalists do damage control by lying about the President's condition. Unfortunately, the Haig-Weinberger contretemps is heating up during a crisis of misinformation about Russian troop formations, suggesting that America's worst enemy wasn't its nuclear rival but its own cadre of presidential policy makers. With Bush's arrival, tensions simmered down even though it's clear that the President won't be running the country for some time. As frightening as any horror picture, this historical saga evokes the paranoia and the cynicism of fictional political thrillers like SEVEN DAYS IN MAY, but its series of extraordinary events, which push the system of governmental checks and balances to the limit, are all-too firmly rooted in reality. It's hard for the movie to drum up much suspense because viewers know the outcome, but it's still a fascinating (and alarming) depiction of self-serving power-mongers.
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- Released: 2001
- Rating: R
- Review: This revisionist history lesson explores the events that followed lone gunman John Hinkley's attempt to kill President Reagan on March 10, 1981, in hopes of impressing actress Jodie Foster. The assassination attempt injured Reagan and several others, inclu… (more)