In Assassination of a High School President, Reece Daniel Thompson plays an awkward, nerdy school reporter who finds himself in the middle of a major whodunit where nothing is what it seems and no one is innocent. Mischa Barton and Bruce Willis also star.
Thompson is Bobby Funke, who starts investigating a rather serious crime: someone has stolen several SAT exams, forcing students to retake the important test. It's in this investigation that he's approached by the gorgeous Francesca Fachini (Mischa Barton), who is extremely upset that her great score on the test may be for moot if she has to retake it. Her promise of an award motivates him onward, and Bobby soon discovers that the culprit is none other than the senior class president. His subsequent story results in the president's expulsion, but just when the picture seems complete, Bobby realizes that it's only the beginning.
Assassination of a High School President was originally scheduled for a theatrical release, but for some reason, Sony opted to relegate the movie directly to DVD. The move is a bit of a surprise, as Assassination is a surprisingly effective whodunit. I'm a big fan of high school films as long as they aren't "teeny bopper films;" in other words, if high school is merely a setting for a story to tell rather than the central focus, I'm a sucker. Assassination falls within this category.
The movie isn't excellent by any means, but it's fast-paced, clever and mildly entertaining. It's not a serious thriller, and yet director Brett Simon handles the story seriously, which results in a film that balances teenage awkwardness and humor with an authentic mystery. The movie isn't a comedy, but there are some funny moments scattered throughout; more importantly, the whodunit focus is engaging and keeps things moving along.
Thompson is strong in the lead, providing the audience with an unlikely and likable hero. Barton, who, despite her recognizable face has yet to have a major role in a wide release, is an effective love interest; she's sexy, intriguing and not at all innocent. I'm not quite sure why Bruce Willis is involved in the film; while he's entertaining as the theatrical principal, he otherwise has little to do.
Ultimately, Assassination of a High School President is not a must-see film; nevertheless, it's original enough that it may be worth checking out if you like movies like this. Recommended.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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