Thanks to the illustriousness of its composer, Stephen Sondheim, Assasins, a dark, witty revue has been recorded and released by a major label even though it wasn’t thought commercial enough for a Broadway run after its brief life in workshop form last winter. Now fully orchestrated, Assassins features nine President killers and would-be killers from John Wilkes Booth to John Hinckley, who tell their stories, each in his or her own misunderstood way, through songs styled after the popular music of their eras. Ultimately the show’s message is less than electrifying — these losers are the flip side of the American dream, blah blah-but the piece really is brilliant entertainment anyway, of a sort best illustrated by its version of the classic love duet. In a pop-rocking Burt Bacharach-ish number that plumbs the schlocky depths of suburban yearning, Hinckley and Lynette ”Squeaky” Fromme pay homage to their respective dream dates, Jodie Foster and Charles Manson — just a coupla crazy kids in love. Equal parts mockery and despair, Assassins puts the gallows back into gallows humor. A

  • Movie
  • 132 minutes