Mow the grassy knoll, lock the windows of the book depository, and don’t deal with Dealey Plaza.
To commemorate the assassination of JFK check out PARKLAND on DVD.
Nonplussed that this very fine film failed to find a cinema release, nevertheless it deserves a wide audience.
Written and directed by controversial journalist Peter Landesman and based on the book by Vincent Bugliosi who prosecuted the Manson clan and author of HELTER SKELTER, the bestselling book about the case, PARKLAND takes its title from the hospital that JFK was taken to after being shot.
The opening sequences are reminiscent of Robert Altman’s MASH with all the blood and gore hubbub of a surgical emergency, and indeed the overall film has an Altmanesque quality with its big cast and multi weaving plot structure.
Zac Efron plays the overworked surgeon who valiantly tries to resuscitate the mortally wounded President, his frustration palpable as is the enormity of the situation creepingly realised by theatre nurse Marcia Gay Harden.
Shock and awe is also the register illustrated by Paul Giammatti’s portrayal of Zapruda, who fatefully filmed the most famous snuff movie in history.
Billy Bob Thornton bustles as senior secret service agent Forrest Sorrels, devastated that this incident happened on his watch and determined to close the case as quickly as possible.
As much as procedure is followed by medical and law enforcement people, a sense of panic generated by the magnitude of the act plays interference and almost immediately the seeds of conspiracy are planted.
PARKLAND also has a fascinating aspect to the Oswald connection, focusing on Lee Harvey’s brother, Robert, played by James Badge Dale. Guilty by association in the eyes of colleagues and the community, he must traverse the swampland of familial loyalty with the insanity of his sibling’s actions. Jeremy Strong portrays Lee Harvey Oswald, with Jackie Weaver as their mother, delivering more than a hint of her matriarch in Animal Kingdom.
A more than worthy addition to the Kennedy canon, PARKLAND is a movie mosaic depicting the confusion and grief of an event that stalks the zeitgeist half a century on.