A post, post-noir high school crime-thriller-mystery.
The Assassination was actually filmed in 2008, then-titled ‘Assassination of a High School President’ it was put out in the States in 2009, but its distributor, Yari Film Group went bust and only now has Signature Entertainment bought the rights and the movie is seeing the light of day in the UK.
Bobby Funke (Reece Thompson) writes for the high school paper, apparently. He can never follow anything through and has never finished a story. But when the SAT’s go missing from St Donovans high school Bobby is on the case. Spurred on by the most popular girl in school, he seeks out the truth, but along the way he stumbles through sex, drugs and conspiracies.
Popular girl is Mischa Barton, who throughout her career has struggled to portray anything other than befuddlement, but she does play the high school popular girl well, and her confusion, angst and sexual prowess, she will be forever typecast in this role (well for a few years anyway). Michael Rapaport suits the hard-ass coach exceedingly roll well but isn’t in the film nearly as long as you would like, while Thompson plays Funke so convincingly that you can easily forget that he is ten years older than the character he is playing.
And then there is Willis, good old Bruce. Mental, intense and dry witted, that is how I like my Bruce and he’s the best thing about the whole film.
From his obsession with stopping Funke chewing gum to singing his own song (American, That’s What I Am) at the pep rally, he does it with such a stern face that you can’t help but laugh and the cast is definitely what makes this film. BUT. At times the pace is unbearably slow, full of smouldering looks, bumbling similes and crashing clichés.
Interestingly since the recent popularity of 80’s pastiche rom-com films such as ‘The Perks of Being a Wallflower’ (although ‘Admitably this movie is set in a more violent scenario) ‘The Assassination’ may find a big enough audience to push it to ‘cult’ status. Maybe, maybe not.
The soundtrack is really good though, with a weird and wonderful mix of quirky modern and not so modern music, featuring songs by Goldfrapp, Cat Power, Band Of Horses and The Ravonettes.
UK DVD Release Date: 15th July 2013
Cast: Bruce Willis, Mischa Barton, Michael Rapaport, Reece Thompson
Director: Brett Simon
Writers: Tim Calpin, Kevin Jakubowski