The Assassination (aka Assassination of a High School President), 2008.
Directed by Brett Simon.
Starring Bruce Willis, Mischa Barton, Reece Thompson, Patrick Taylor, Michael Rapaport, Melonie Diaz and Zoë Kravitz.
At a Catholic high school, the popular girl teams up with a sophomore newspaper reporter to investigate a case of stolen SAT exams. Once the duo target their suspects, a larger conspiracy is unearthed.
There is something, or someone, rotten to the core at St. Donavan’s High School. School newspaper journalist Bobby Funke is determined to uncover the truth and his conspiracy theories threaten to escalate into an obsession that will perhaps lead him to somewhere he shouldn’t go.
Bobby Funke (Reece Thompson) is searching for an exclusive scoop for the school newspaper which he hopes will be his golden ticket to an exclusive journalism course that takes place during the school summer break. He discovers something that he manages to spin to his advantage but, unfortunately for the High School President Paul Moore (Patrick Taylor), it cascades into a much deeper, darker story. In releasing the story Funke discovers how quickly popularity can be gained; in particular he becomes the new attraction for the school beauty Francesca Franchini (Mischa Barton). With his actions backed by the strict Principal Kirkpatrick (Bruce Willis), he thinks his place on the course is guaranteed. However, the flip side of investigative journalism is revealed, this time showing that his new-found attractiveness can quickly become a poisoned chalice as he finds himself in a very bad position.
Writers Tim Calpin and Kevin Jakubowski set a great tone from the off. The dark, moody setting, for me reminisant of Donnie Darko, made it clear that this was not a light-hearted, high-school caper-ridden movie. The voiceover by Thompson as Funke is effective in delivering several witty comments and the actions of Willis as the slightly chemically-imbalanced army veteran Principal strike a comedic balance to the gloomier parts. Although sometimes I did think the writers may have been forcing the smiles with him. Brett Simon did an okay job of directing but I felt that the lead character, Funke, only just stood out as the main figure of the film. This was due to the supporting characters being a little too stereotypical, but not to a hugely detrimental degree. The plot was fairly straightforward to unravel, but is delivered in several stages, consequently it kept me interested.
First shown in 2008 at the Sundance film festival under the title: Assassination of a High School President, it was released on DVD in the U.S in 2009. As a result of the Yari Film Group going bust, there was no other release. Now retitled as ‘The Assassination‘ it provides good entertainment. It brings an essence of 80’s High School movies mixed with shadowy, black comedy undertones. It’s a good film that is worth watching.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★ ★
J-P Wooding – Follow me on Twitter.