Already in select theatres in Los Angeles, New York, and Chicago and expanding to more theatres this Friday, October 12: THE PROSECUTION OF AN AMERICAN PRESIDENT
Dave Hagen and David J Burke, capitalizing on the political season, brought the world premiere of their incendiary indictment of former President George W Bush to Hollywood’s ArcLight Theatre last week rather than begin on the festival circuit.
In the film, acclaimed author and prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi, best known for prosecuting Charles Manson, sets forth his case for why Bush and members of his administration should be brought to trial for leading the US into war with Iraq under false pretenses. The contention Bugliosi cogently argues throughout the film, including to a a UCLA law class, is that if Bush deliberately misled Congress about the presence of weapons of mass destruction, then he is legally responsible for all of the American deaths that have resulted from that action, deaths that can be deemed murder. Philosophically, it’s a provocative charge many Bush detractors would no doubt welcome, so as a piece of speculative political theatre, Hagen and Burke’s film achieves some level of fascination. At the same time, the film essentially consists of an extended legal argument. While the reputable Bugliosi presents a convincing case – he can’t be criticized for being some out of touch conspiracy theorist – at its heart the film is a fairly straightforward one, making it feel a bit repetitive and overextended. Still, the doc serves as a timely reminder about the last administration’s misdeeds, and, perhaps, a cautionary tale about a potential future come Election Day.