Revised since its screening last year at the Chicago Underground Film Festival, this fascinating and troubling documentary by Michael Galinsky and Suki Hawley chronicles the tortured history of Fortunate Son, the sensational 1999 biography of George W. Bush that was pulled out of stores by St. Martin's Press after the Dallas Morning News revealed that its author, J.M. Hatfield, had been convicted of soliciting a murder 12 years earlier. Hawley and Galinsky wisely steer clear of the book's controversial allegation that Bush was busted for cocaine possession in 1972, focusing instead on the tense relationship between Hatfield, a 43-year-old Texan laconically observing the disintegration of his career and personal life, and Sander Hicks, the enthusiastic but marginally competent punk publisher whose tiny Soft Skull Press reissued Fortunate Son in 2000. Hatfield committed suicide in July 2001, just seven weeks after he and Hicks made a last-ditch attempt to promote the book at the Book Expo in Chicago; it's a sobering conclusion to a story whose mysteries may never be solved now that one of the principals has become the most powerful man in the world. 79 min.
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