SXSW Review: Assassination of a High School President

March 15, 2008

Coming to SXSW, I was excited to see that one film that I would blow my mind and become my clear favorite of the festival. The Promotion was great but I didn't walk out of it loving it right away. Until last night I hadn't found that movie yet and was pretty discouraged that there wouldn't be one. Thankfully, Assassination of a High School President turned out to be absolutely amazing and one of my favorite films of the year so far.

What do you get when you mix a tenacious high school journalist, an ex-military principal, the prettiest girl in school, the popular jock and high school president, and some stolen SAT's? You get a noir mystery called Assassination of a High School President that has the same feel as Brick, but with much more of a sense of what high school was really like. Bobby Funke (Reece Thompson) plays a high school journalist looking to make a name for himself by writing the perfect story. He is given his first assignment to write a story about the high school president Paul Moore (Patrick Taylor). Turns out Funke uncovers more then he bargained for and ends up being pressured by the principal (Bruce Willis) and Moore's girlfriend Francesca (Mischa Barton).

I had heard great things about this one from Alex (read his review) and the guys at SlashFilm and Film School Rejects, so I definitely wanted to see it. With the string of above average films we had already seen I guess I just wasn't expecting to like this as much as I did. This was a film that I fell in love with within the first 15 minutes. Witty dialogue, a Brick-style story and a true high school feel make this an extremely enjoyable film.

Reece Thompson deserves a lot of credit for not only his role in this movie but also Rocket Science. His breakthrough into film from television has definitely turned out to be a good career move for this young actor. He has a lot of talent and a screen presence all his own. I'm looking forward to seeing much more of Thompson and his ability to play both comedic and dramatic roles.

Without a doubt a film that I would have walked right back into the theater to see again if I could have. This had already been picked up since it premiered at Sundance earlier this year, so it should be coming to your area around August. Assassination of a High School President is my top pick from the SXSW Film Festival and one that you should go see as soon as you have the chance.

Assassination of a High School President

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