The film Killing Reagan follows the President of the United States from his 1981 inauguration through his first few months in office. It’s a very good production with seasoned actors that look like the subjects and sets/locations similar or exactly like the ones where his attempted assassination took place. The movie really is a duo mini biography in which John Hinckley, Jr.’s story behind his motives as the assassin become the central catalyst. The film is now available on DVD.
John Hinckley (Kyle S. More) has been living in New York City where he’s been obsessing for the actress Jodi Foster. He’s trying to work out a plan for meeting her, but knows he’s nobody to the famous woman. Following the killing of John Lennon he gets the idea that being famous like his shooter would help him with Jodi. He attends a rally for President Carter thinking how important he would be if he shot him, but chicken’s out.
It’s merely two months after Ronald Reagan (Tim Matheson) has been elected President and settling into the White House with his wife Nancy (Cynthia Nixon). His staff has him working out the details on his first year in office and setting up meetings. Following his speech at the Washington DC Hilton and exiting the building, John Hinckley pulls a gun firing nine shots toward the President hitting him in the chest.
The assassination attempt, the chaos in the White House War Room, and the interrogation of Hinckley by the FBI continue the story. Director Rod Lurie (Straw Dogs) delivers the script to the screen similar to Oliver Stone’s JFK. The story takes you step by step through the whole event. It delves into John Hinckley’s life prior to his decision to attack the President, Reagan’s taking his seat as President following the election, the shooting, the chaos at the hospital and indecisiveness of his cabinet members who take command of the nation.
The acting by the two leads Tim Matheson as Ronald Reagan and Cynthia Nixon as Nancy Reagan is very good. The make-up and wardrobe departments serve them well making their likeness spot on. Even Matheson’s voice tends to give you the feel of deja vu throughout the film. The soft talking Nancy Reagan by Cynthia comes across well, especially with her trifling in the President’s affairs. The chemistry between the two actors make the secondary plot more of a love poem between the heads of the first family. While I liked the romance angle, it does take a bit away from Hinckley’s murderous attempt.
The DVD has several unique bonus features that include:
“Behind the Scenes Featurettes”
“Tim Matheson on Playing Ronald Reagan”
“Cynthia Nixon on Playing Nancy Reagan”
“Behind the Scenes with Bill O’Reilly”
“Making the Costumes”
“The Reagans: A Love Story”
Killing Reagan has been rated TV-14 and contains violence, gore and some language. The film also intermixes actual footage during the presentation. Please be sure to watch the DVD prior to allowing immature youngsters to see the movie. The book that the film is based on was written by Bill O’Reilly.
FINAL ANALYSIS: A good portrayal of the murderous attempt of our 40th US President
Specifications and additional video information:
Cast: Tim Matheson, Cynthia Nixon, Joel Murray, Kyle S. More, Michael H. Cole, Geoff Pierson, Patrick St. Esprit
Director: Rod Lurie
TV Rating: TV-14
Genre: Drama, Biography
Running Time: 1 hr. 40 min.
Video Release Date: February 7, 2017
Television Release Date on National Geographic: October 16, 2016
Reviewed Format: DVD
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1
Video: Widescreen, Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
Number of Discs: 1 Disc
Distributed by: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment