A Perfect Depiction of a National Tragedy - Tiff Review by ReelScreenReviews (by reelscreenreviews)
******This Review May Contain Spoilers****** The assassination of JFK and the following 4 days are re-counted in our next review. Hello there to everyone watching and thank you once again for getting your 2013 Toronto International Film Festival info from We Live Film & ReelScreenReviews, I am movie critic Nick Iacobucci & our next movie review is for "Parkland". This period piece and intense drama will open in limited release at the beginning of October and will bow on DVD in November, and it stars Zac Efron, Paul Giamatti, Marcia Gay Harden, Tom Welling, James Badge Dale, <more>
& Billy Bob Thornton. "Parkland" comes to us from director Peter Landesman, and he is a first time filmmaker that also serves as the screenwriter on this project."Parkland" tells the tale of the events that unfold on November 22nd, 1963, or the day that John Fitzgerald Kennedy was assassinated. After being shot President Kennedy was taken to Parkland Memorial Hospital where a team of respectable medical personal did everything in their power to save this world leader. This film also incorporates the elements of Abraham Zapruder or the man that famously shot the most watched home movie in history. "Parkland" also covers Lee Harvey Oswald and his family's relation to Parkland Memorial, and it also has time for the Dallas Police, the Secret Service, and the FBI.Well people "Parkland" is shot very up close and personal, and many times throughout the film you actually feel like you are watching a documentary. It obviously makes use of the Zapruder film and mixes dramatic narrative and actual footage for an almost seamlessly flowing story. "Parkland" felt very realistic from time to time, and never relents on an intensity that it brings forth from the film's beginning.Now even though most people are fully aware of the events that occurred on the road in Dallas that fateful day, most are completely unaware of the events that followed. The actions that unravel in the operating room are grippingly graphic and powerfully real, and the film also introduces other points of insight. Like what happens amongst and within the Oswald family is a revelation, and their relationship with the cops and the Feds is quite interesting."Parkland" also explains how an ordinary average garment manufacturer could easily be considered a United States national hero. Abraham Zapruder knew what he had filmed, and I might add knew about the technicalities of photography for the time period. He was there with the FBI & the Secret Service every step of the way, and Mr. Zapruder was the distinct and crucial element as to why anyone knows anything about the murder of JFK. He positively knew what he had filmed and he kept on filming it as it played out, and in my opinion that alone makes him a hero. There are only conspiracy theories today because of the strength of Abraham Zapruder in that moment on the 22nd of November 1963, and without him nobody would've known anything concrete. It shows us direction and a time scale of the shots fired as well as a 2 dimensional blueprint of the murder itself. Put simply in an era where cameras were just being invented for the masses, this was the one aspect the killers never counted on.Then "Parkland's" authentic look and feel was truly a character all its own, and added very much in its delivery. The clothes and décor, the cars and props, everything in this feature is a spot on match for 50 years previous. Then aside from the way the movie looks the emotional connection that it captures with the audience is even more impressive. There were many people in attendance that were crying for a fallen American President that was likely killed many years before they were even born. This film perfectly conveys the misery & tragedy of a country mourning the loss of its emperor.Then I actually wrote the word 'Relentless' in my notes to describe this film 4 times throughout its viewing. "Parkland" absolutely does not stop in terms of the trauma that unfolds in the hospital, the city, or the country that November day. It seems to interweave authorities, witnesses, victims, & of course medical personal all wrapped up in a national heartbreak. This movie is filmed well, the screenplay is tight, the acting is top notch, and with little time to breathe I don't know how anyone could complain about boredom.I think that I clocked "Parkland" at a quick 1 hour and 30 minutes, and in that time there wasn't even 1 boring or worthless second. This film is the definition of a true ensemble cast, and that's where everyone that stars in it cares more about the film than they do about their own individual performances. This movie flew by as one of the most enjoyable, interesting, and informative films that I have seen all year, and that's why Nick's Reel Screen Review is a perfect 4 stars out of 4. That perfect recommendation comes for the grippingly realistic drama "Parkland".
If you think you have seen enough on screen about the assassination, this movie doesn't go into territory covered by previous movies like "JFK". No conspiracy theories or reconstruction of the shooting. Instead its provides you with a detailed fascinating view of the events and people that you don't figure centrally on screen before. What happened at the hospital from the point of view of doctors and nurses - harrowing. Removing the body after death to Air Force One by the secret service. Lee Harvey Oswald's brother and mother and their reaction. Zapruder's filming <more>
of the event and the way the film was developed and first viewed. The FBI's first reaction to the shootings and Oswald.The movie is very well directed. It gives a feel of being in the thick of things. Authentic. The acting is good with a mostly well chosen cast. Zac Efron as the doctor who first attended to JFK. Paul Giamatti as Zapruder. Tom Welling and Billy Bon Thornton as a Secret Service agents. The actor playing Oswald looks like him. A couple of not so good choices. The actress playing Jackie didn't look too much like her. Colin Hanks didn't look like a chief resident doctor.Overall very interesting. Worth a watch.
Riveting and Refreshing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (by DragnetDC)
If you believe the garbage, lies, obfuscation, non sequiturs, and pure fiction produced by Oliver Stone in "JFK," then you will hate "Parkland." However, if you, like me, have been waiting a long, long time for Hollywood to make a movie that sticks to the facts the good, bad or ugly facts about the crime of the 20th Century, then you will LOVE this movie.The dialog is real. The words the actors speak are as close to reality as possible, and not some script writer's ideological interpretation to fit a conspiracy theory.The movie is so fast paced, I didn't think 94 <more>
minutes could fly by that quickly! The panic, fear, confusion and shock of the Secret Service agents, Dallas Police, FBI, Parkland Hospital staff, witnesses, news media and the American public is non stop!!!!! Paul Giamatti is superb as Abraham Zapruder, the reluctant hero who recorded the most famous home movie in history.James Badge Dale nails it as Robert Oswald, the assassin's brother who now has to deal with a new, terrible reality. He makes you feel his disgust for his brother's actions, but at the same time, feel his sympathy and sorrow for Lee Harvey.Zac Efron and Marcia Gay Harden are great as the Emergency Room doctor and nurse, who without warning, are forced to deal with a fatal gunshot wound to the most important person in the world. You can see the initial fear and trepidation on their faces before they snap out of their daze and try to save the President's life.One of the most underrated actors of our time, Ron Livingston, plays FBI agent James Hosty, the man who was assigned the case of Lee Harvey Oswald after he returned from Russia. The FBI's investigation of Oswald is going nowhere fast, and Hosty describes Oswald as a "nobody." But as his boss screams at him, a NOBODY who just shot the President! The viewer feels sorry for Hosty as he is being forced to compromise his ethics and integrity to help the FBI and J. Edgar Hoover avoid the embarrassment sure to follow if the world finds out Oswald came to the FBI office in Dallas ten days before the assassination and threatened Hosty.Billy Bob Thornton......................what more can I say! He is one of the most talented actors in Hollywood. He jumps off the screen as Forrest Sorrels, the Special Agent in Charge of the Secret Service in Dallas. He must be nominated for an Academy Award for this role! And I will close with a comment about Jacki Weaver, an Australian actress who plays the mother of the Oswald brothers. Phenomenal!!! She knocked it out of the park. Quickly, the viewer see just how crazy she is, and how in the middle of such horrors as the assassination of the President, she embarrasses her son Robert with her utterly preposterous claims about her son, Lee.I hope every high school history teacher in America shows this film in class so the younger generation can see what really happened in Dallas on November 22, 1963.
Excellent Depiction of Some Ancillary Characters, However Rushed (by madorosh)
It was rumoured years ago that Tom Hanks wanted to do a mini-series based on the Kennedy Assassination, as a counter-point to Oliver Stone's film, "JFK", using Vincent Bugliosi's research as a guide. If anything, this film is a convincing argument for such a series - and perhaps is even a test-bed for such a project. The film seems to pack a lot of material in, and as noted by many others, the pacing feels off.However, there is a great verisimilitude created by the inclusion of actual footage - in limited amounts - as well as the integration of the ground-breaking television <more>
coverage of the events of the day. The conclusion of the film is perhaps too subtle, but if one pays attention to what Cronkite is saying and relates it to the action on-screen, there is a very clever "conclusion" to the film that it seems some reviewers have missed. I saw this film in the same opening weekend as "Gravity" and ironically, the latter film is receiving rave reviews for the acting of its cast, despite not really having much of a story. In fact, "Gravity" is really not much more than a thematic notion about "rebirth" with two weakly drawn characters, while "Parkland" focuses on a group of real-life men and women who had to deal with a major historical catastrophe. I found the latter far more gripping, and compelling.Some of the choices in "Parkland" were a bit odd, and comparing to the historical record as set out by the source material - Bugliosi - one sees some liberties taken for one presumes cinematic reasons. Other reviewers have pointed out some i.e. Zapruder had initially locked his film in his safe, not clutched it to his bosom in Dealey Plaza . One wonders if we truly won't see an expanded version of this film, in mini-series form, with the many other characters explored. The actor chosen to portray Lee Harvey Oswald bore an uncanny resemblance and the effort seemed wasted given the tiny screen time given to that major historical figure. One could easily see some merit to an 8 or even 10 part treatment of various subjects, including Oswald's life in Russia, the assassination attempt on General Walker, the work of the Warren Commission, the rise of the conspiracy industry, Jack Ruby's last weekend of freedom, the Clay Shaw trial, etc. Many more interesting stories to tell from the perspective of the Bugliosi/Posner perspective.
Parkland is a very different type of film to the usual JFK assassination types. It doesn't delve into the 'whodunnit' side of things or point fingers at cover ups nor conspiracies.What it does do,however is look at how the death of JFK affected people not routinely associated with him.I found it to be unlike any other film i have seen, the only one that it bears any sort of parallel to me is " taking chance".I thought the documentary type shooting was beautifully atmospheric and felt numb with helplessness at the suffering of Jacqueline Kennedy.It's obvious appeal <more>
will immediately be with those who like the Kennedy assassination genre, but I found it to be a deeply emotional film in it's own right.it's worth a lot more than the current 6/10 rating.
This is supposed to be a drama with a documentary feel. No, you won't see Kennedy's bloodied head. No, you will not see Clint Hill. No, there is nothing here that hasn't already been picked over with a fine tooth comb. There are eye opening moments, you wish you knew the characters a little better, but I think that's what the director wanted. Boom, there's the nurse, boom, there's LBJ, boom, here's the doctor in charge. It's a re-creation of the events, but from a different angle. Maybe a huge blockbuster was what was expected but with this movie, a little goes <more>
a long way. It makes you think.With this movie, what you see is what you get. The director could totally have made this a huge 3 hour long movie event, but in 1 1/2 hours, you see what happened over the course of that horrific day from a different perspective. Blink and you will miss it.
I was 12 when President Kennedy was assassinated. Even though I am Canadian, it was a huge deal for us. I remember seeing him and his wife Jacquie coming out of the Church of the Ascension in Westmount Montreal sometime in 1962 or thereabouts. No crowds, no security, you could feel something exciting about him. North America changed profoundly after that. This movie does not put forward any theories about what took place at Dealey Plaza, but it does show with great accuracy how normal people are affected by extraordinary events. No matter how well we are prepared for things, when disaster <more>
strikes it takes everyone off guard and chaos ensues. Look at current events and we see the same thing. The mixture of archival footage was done exactly right, so you felt that you were really there. Despite the horrible circumstances, by the simple acts of ordinary people, one could see that not everyone had lost their humanity. The acting was superb, Marcia Harden, Billy Bob Thornton, Paul Giamatti and Zac Efron in particular.
A numbing experience of the horror before conspiracy theories emerged. (by TheSquiss)
A certain generation gained its knowledge of the assassination of John Fitzgerald Kennedy from Oliver Stone's JFK. Don't get me wrong, JFK remains a fine film, but there's a danger of believing the conspiracies are factual. Parkland, Peter Landesman's directorial debut, doesn't necessarily right any wrongs but it does approach the assassination with a clean slate.Parkland unfolds the story we are all familiar with, but manages to shock thoroughly as it recounts the events of 22 November 1963 and the immediate aftermath before the conspiracy theories and thoughts of dark <more>
dealings beyond the obvious murder emerged. Landesman manages to numb us, playing our own horror and sense of helplessness across the faces of the protagonists before us as their innocence is lost and their faith in humanity is rocked.Central to Parkland is Abraham Zapruder Paul Giamatti , the man who inadvertently shot one of the most important 26.6 seconds of film in American history: the arrival of the President's cavalcade and his harrowing, public execution at the hands probably of Lee Harvey Oswald. We watch Giamatti's Zapruder evolve from confident boss to shuddering, emotional mess as he realizes just what he has recorded and the impact that footage will have on the world and his own life. It is very easy to view Zapruder as a fortunate man, a man who in a lucky half minute, shot himself fame and financial security, but Giamatti flawlessly portrays a man who just might crumple permanently under the weight and pressure from the police, the Secret Service, the press...At every turn in Parkland there is another character recoiling in their own horror, undergoing their own life-changing trauma, and each is played with the sensitivity demanded in order for Parkland not to be a mawkish, voyeuristic experience.After last year's The Paperboy but overlooking the awful The Lucky One , it's definitely time to take Zac Effron seriously as an actor. As Doctor Charles 'Jim' Carrico, the young doctor called upon to put his own emotions aside and fight for the life of his President as the First Lady weeps in the corner holding a chunk of her husband's brain, he looks shell shocked and as numbed by the events as we feel. Subtler is James Badge Dale as Robert Oswald, another man whose life is irrevocably changed by the actions of a man, who happens to be his brother. At first shocked by the shooting, he retreats into himself as realisation dawns, emerging only to castigate his deluded mother, Marguerite Jacki Weaver , who sees an opportunity for fame and hero's honours for her youngest son.But Parkland is such a powerful film for much more than the performances. They say the devil is in the detail and it is the minutia that kicks us in the gut the hardest. The obvious is overlooked in favour of the finer points. We never see the Zapruder film clearly or in its entirety but the sound of Jim Carrico pumping the President's chest while the gathered crowd watches silently and without hope, goes right through us. The handle of the coffin torn off as the agents lift it out of the hearse, the panic as they realise it will not fit into Air Force One, the hasty removal of the aircraft panel with saw and shoulder... They all serve to make the situation real, the horror genuine and immediate. Landesman has created a film of morality; not just the obvious judgment towards murder, but the more difficult matters of a church burial for a man despised by the population, the suspicion thrown at the family and the blame levied at those who could have prevented the act if they had had the benefit of foresight. Parkland is an emotional journey the delivers a series of punches to leave us reeling. Yes, we know the story, even though we may not have even breathed our first breath in 1963, but have we experienced the emotion before now?For more reviews from The Squiss, subscribe to my blog and like the Facebook page.
A different look at the Kennedy Assassination. Doesn't take sides, just the facts. As a huge assassination buff I really liked it. (by cosmo_tiger)
"This was not supposed to happen!" Dallas Texas, November 22nd 1963. President Kennedy is in town for a campaign stop and is on his way to the Dallas Trade Mart for a speech. He never makes it. While riding in his motorcade he is struck in the head by a bullet and is rushed to Parkland hospital. A staff of doctors do all they can to save his life but are unsuccessful and he becomes the 4th President to be assassinated. This is what happened next. I will start by saying that I am extremely interested in the Kennedy assassination. I have tons of books, movies and other memorabilia of <more>
the Kennedy assassination and administration. I won't bore you with what I know or even my opinion of what happened because that would distract from the review. What I will say is that this is nothing like JFK. That is one of my favorite movies ever but it is more or less an opinion and more conspiratorial. This movie doesn't really deal with the assassination head on but rather the out lying players. The movie focuses on Zapruder Giamatti , the man who took the famous movie. Forrest Sorrels Thornton the head of the secret service. You also see the actions of countless medical staff, Oswald's family and the Dallas F.B.I. You see the actions of these people and how the assassination affected them rather then what all the other movies focus on. Overall, a different kind of Kennedy assassination movie. It doesn't take sides, just shows how people acted. I really enjoyed this a lot. I give it an A.