Scorsese, De Niro and Paul Schrader buffs will want to check out the documentary ”The Plot to Kill Reagan” (11 p.m., The History Channel)”. While it doesn’t exactly resist the cheese factor common to History Channel docs, it does find a fresh way into its chosen topic: demented would-be assassin John Hinckley’s fascination with Taxi Driver the film that he claimed inspired him to stalk star Jodie Foster and hatch a plot to murder President Ronald Reagan.
Mixing talking head interviews, news footage and plentiful re-creations, this special takes the docudrama format about as far as it can go within The History Channel’s narrow stylistic constraints. The true subject isn’t Hinckley’s Foster fixation or his attempt to kill the president, but the interior life of an insane man who wants to fill his empty personality with a beloved onscreen fiction. To that end, the filmmakers mimic iconic scenes and even specific camera moves in their speculative representation of Hinckley’s life, including the famous “You talkin’ to me?” scene, which Hinckley re-stages with a hair dryer instead of a pistol. To read my Star-Ledger review, click here.