Assassination of a High School President, The Assassination (2008)
Directed by: Brett Simon
Written by: Kevin Jakubowski, Tim Calpin
Starring: Bruce Willis, Luke Grimes, Michael Rapaport, Mischa Barton, Reece Thompson, Vincent Piazza
THE ASSASSINATION (2008) – aka ASSASSINATION OF A HIGH SCHOOL PRESIDENT
Directed by Brett Simon
A first look at The Assassination, especially from the DVD cover, you would assume the film is a shoot-em-up, action flick, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Despite having a ‘IF’ style assassination type scene, it’s not what you think. Instead, the title cleverly describes the ‘character assassination’ that is depicted within the film, as popular high school jock Paul Moore is slammed into permanent detention for stealing the SAT papers. Narrated by Bobby Funke in parts, as Edward Norton does in David Fincher’s Fight Club, Funke is forced to question the crime, especially as it is he who fed Moore to the wolves with his damning front-page article.
The Assassination is a mystery drama set within the backdrop of an ordinary high school and laced with hilarious, if somewhat vulgar, comedy. Having been in the company of a group of guys, I’m not shocked by the things these high school students come out with, and they are quite witty in their own way. I would liken the comedy elements to that of American Pie, yet The Assassination nowhere near tries as hard as American Pie and is much funnier than the long-running comedy film series, in my opinion. One of the characters onscreen who first made me roar with laughter was Spanish teacher and priest, Padre Newell, played by Josh Pais. Shuffling around the classroom in his black priest’s robes, with a crucifix around his neck, he talks to the students in a soft Spanish accent, dragging the words out. Whilst this sounds the least funniest thing on the planet, it is actually quite humourous, especially as Padre Newell looks like former Radio 1 DJ, Chris Moyles. Funke’s narration prior to the Spanish class reveals that most students only know the translation for a ‘spunk-filled milkshake’ rather than a usable Spanish phrase, which says a lot about the students… and the teachers! Many other characters offer witty comments, and the banter between certain personas, such as Bruce Willis’ Principal Kirkpatrick and Hispanic student Ricky Delacruz (Boardwalk Empire star Vincent Piazza), had me snorting with laughter. The humour is quite subtle at times but hits the comedic nail on the head.
The cast of The Assasination put in a fabulous performance, with Hollywood actor Bruce Willis relishing the role of a war veteran Principal who’s unable to let go of his past exploits in the army. Reece Thompson holds his own as Bobby Funke (pronounced ‘Funk’, not ‘Funky’) with the young investigator working his way up from lowly student, who once got tied up to a snowman penis as a sophomore, to the most popular kid in school with the hot Francesca Fachini on his arm, played by The O.C.’s Mischa Barton. It’s the supporting cast though who deserve the loudest applause, as each give a distinct personality to their high school student character, really creating that tense filled environment and time in a person’s teenage years.
The Assasination is a light-hearted, fun-filled, mystery romp that engages the viewer whilst tickling your funny bone when you least expect it.