Rod Lurie’s film “Killing Reagan” continues the NatGeo series on assassination attempts (successful or not) against US presidents, and aired on Sunday, Oct. 16, 2016.
Kyle S. More is chilling, so to speak, as John Warnock Hinckley. Jr. Physically, he looks fat and formless, featureless. He is presented as having gone off the rails mentally two or three years before attempting to assassinate Ronald Reagan on March 30, 1981. The film shows his life during the 1980 campaign, and his reaction to John Lennon's death. The film shows his stalking of Jodie Foster, with land line phone calls where he has to tell him not to call again. The idea of having a job and a place he can earn in society has become replaced with a romantic heterosexual fantasy and fixation.
The assassination sequence is well done and brutal. As Brady lies bleeding on the sidewalk. The scene seems to have been done somewhere else than Washington, as are the scenes outside GW Hospital, since the exteriors don’t match what is or really there.
The film covers the dangerous confusion within the administration during the first hours. The Soviet submarines may be on the move. The press secretary Speakes is told to get off the stage. Reagan had walked into the hospital can collapsed. The bullet was difficult to remove, and he lost a lot of blood.
The script implies that the use of a lot of O- blood could lengthen his recovery and possibly make him impotent, but apparently he overcame that and recovered rapidly. Cynthia Nixon played the dedicated Nancy Reagan.
Tim Matheson, 68, provides a convincingly flabby appearance for Reagan, as noted in a 1985 issue of “Christopher Street”.