Based on real life events, Assassination is set in 1974 and centers on a businessman who decides to take extreme measures to achieve his American dream.
Release Year: 2004
Rating: 7.1/10 (16,938 voted)
Critic's Score: 63/100
Stars: Sean Penn, Naomi Watts, Don Cheadle
In 1974 Samuel Joseph Byck attempted to hijack a plane he intended to fly into the White House to kill Richard Nixon – possibly the first time an airliner was to be used as a flying bomb in a terrorist attack. Sam Bicke is a lonely, ineffectual incompetent who feels wronged by his family, friends, employers and the world in general, though his problems are largely of his own making and his petulant refusal to compromise what he sees as his 'values'. Thus he loses his job rather than 'lie' to customers about prices, while at the same time he continuously deceives his friends, and steals from his friend and his brother. Elaborate plans for success founder on equally avoidable issues. As his world falls apart, he fantasizes Richard Nixon (then under the shadow of Watergate and soon to leave office) as his ultimate enemy, and Leonard Bernstein (to whom he dictates endless self-exculpatory audio letters) as his only friend and equal…
Writers: Niels Mueller, Kevin Kennedy
Samuel J. Bicke
Marie Andersen Bicke
Brad William Henke
(as Brad Henke)
The mad story of a true man.
Release Date: 22 October 2004
Filming Locations: Alameda, California, USA
Opening Weekend: $37,547
(2 January 2005)
(27 February 2005)
Did You Know?
This was originally conceived as a fictitious story but, whilst doing research, the writers discovered something very similar had occurred, so decided to let that influence their script.
Julius Bicke is shown wearing a wedding ring. He is a fervently Orthodox Jew, and such Orthodox males do not wear wedding rings as a matter of religious principle.
Slavery never really ended in this country. It just gave it another name… Em-plo-yee.
I was lucky enough to find myself at a small screening of this picture
and having no expectations, was blown away by what I saw. I felt a knot
growing in my chest with every passing minute and it didn't let go
until the credits rolled, when I had to take a couple deep breaths and
heard the girl next to me doing the same.
What first struck me was the fragility Penn brings to his character.
He's a man I'm used to seeing as well, a man's man, and to see him
timid and frustrated, swallowing so much emotion in ever bigger
chunks…it was remarkable to watch, his performance a credit to
director Niels Mueller as well. Penn deserves another award, Noami
Watts and Don Cheadle are also excellent, and Michael Wincott, as
Penn's brother, makes his one scene memorable.
Niels and Kevin Kennedy have done a truly masterful job with the
script, bringing unique voices and characters to life such as I rarely
see on screen. Neils certainly doesn't look like a first timer behind
the camera. Much of his framing feels emotionally
claustrophobic, while a few hand-held sequences made me think I was an
unwilling, unwitting voyeur.
All in all this is a delicately crafted yet weighty and powerful film.
I believe it gets released soon in New York and LA, but as Penn's Sam
Bicke character might say "The system is unfair and everyone has a
right to see this movie" so email ThinkFilm and tell them you want it
in your city, too. Kudos to ThinkFIlm for getting behind this movie,
they have another festival favorite of mine, "Kontroll" coming out in
I take my hat off to these filmmakers for their outstanding work.