Action / Drama / History / Mystery / Thriller
Action / Drama / History / Mystery / Thriller
Recounting the chaotic events that occurred in Dallas, Texas on November 22, 1963, Parkland weaves together the perspectives of a handful of ordinary individuals suddenly thrust into extraordinary circumstances: the young doctors and nurses at Parkland Hospital; Dallas' chief of the Secret Service; an unwitting cameraman who captured what became the most watched and examined film in history; the FBI agents who nearly had the gunman within their grasp; the brother of Lee Harvey Oswald, left to deal with his shattered family; and JFK's security team, witnesses to both the president's death and Vice President Lyndon Johnson's rise to power over a nation whose innocence was forever altered.
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October 18, 2013 at 07:32 PM
I had never heard of this film but bought it only because I saw Billy Bob Thornton was in it.
It's about the Kennedy assassination but from a totally different perspective than the usual.
It is seen through the eyes of the people, the ordinary people who lived it and the impact it had on them.
Seeing how camera man Abraham Zapruder was horrified at what he saw takes things to a deeper lever. As does the Lee Harvey's brother, who although innocent of anything, knows his life is changed and so is that of his and Lee's children.
My only complaint is the somewhat graphic scene in the emergency room when the doctors and nurses where trying to save the presidents life.
In typical modern hollywood style they had to go over the top. The doctors,nurses,, everyone,, was covered in blood. The president was already dead he wouldn't have been squirting blood around the room. There's no reason for the nurses to be drenched in blood. It was too over the top.
As one who works in emergency medicine,, this doesn't happen. I was disappointed they went so hollywood and followed the modern version of added gore and blood.
Otherwise , a really good film. Well thought out. Great acting all around.
Really makes this a personal incident.
Gripping, great detail, except for a few...
To begin with, I am so positive that I wrote and submitted a review right after I watched this film but now I cannot find it here. Has anyone else ever had this problem? Moving on...I never got a chance to see this film in the theater, it came and went so fast. I had to watch it on blu ray and I must say it is a very well constructed film, it really has the feel of transporting you to 1963 while watching it which is a feat that not every film can accomplish. The attention to detail is very accurate, in MOST cases but there are some glaring factual mistakes, some that can be written off as a money saving problem considering it was not a high budgeted film but there some that there is no excuse for. These MAY be considered SPOILER ALERTS if any viewer has no idea about common history. 1. There is no tent over Oswald's grave. 2. The coffin was not correct, there were no pre-made letters that were attached to the top of the coffin lid but since there was no Close-up shown I can dismiss this as a cost saving device by the production. 3. When Zapruder is filming the assassination, he is in the correct spot but he is alone on the pedestal when in fact his secretary was standing behind him and holding him steady. This is a bonehead 101 mistake that there is NO excuse for. If the director, who also wrote the script, made this amateur blunder then I would have hoped that Paul Giamatti being a consummate actor and researched his role thoroughly (I can only assume here) would have pointed this out during filming. This is not a detail of conjecture, it can be justified by photos and both of their own testimonies. No excuse for this one. 4. This one is more of a murky detail depending on how you sway but when the body of JFK is being wheeled into Parkland, the top and side of his head can clearly be seen to be "fully intact" instead of blown out with brain matter falling out as "some" autopsy photos show. I can see how the Producers wanted to keep the "gruesome" aspect out of a theatrical release for a more General rating BUT I would have thought that the director would have wanted to be more historically correct with the eventual video release and shoot 2 versions of this scene. But, having listened to the director commentary track he seems pretty "in control" of the production so the blame should be laid at his feet. 5. This can be put into the "latter stage of time table of events". I am not sure if Kennedy's underpants were left on while in Parkland, this could be accurate, but once his body arrived at Bethesda Naval Hospital he was nude and inside a slate gray body bag as witnessed by one of the attendants who handled the body for that "autopsy". When you do a film with as much important historical context as this subject, you set yourself up when you get the "nit-pick" details wrong. It is just the way it is.
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Gripping from start to finish
Like many people I've read so much about the Kennedy Assassination that I know the names and stories and even the back stories of just about every character in this movie. And having read Bugliosi's books on the topic (both the short facts-only book on which this movie is based and also the very long, devastating thorough take-down of every conspiracy theory), I know the narrative practically the way Bugliosi presents it, minute by minute. Even so, I was gripped by this movie right from the beginning shortly before the assassination and stayed with it right to the poetic, pathetic ending where Oswald is buried in Fort Worth. At the end of the movie, I really felt wrung out.
The movie operates a bit like a Greek tragedy, not just in its tragic arc, but also in the fact that it assumes that you the viewer generally know the story. This allows it to cover a huge amount of historical ground in just 90 effectively and efficiently presented minutes of drama. It's a remarkable achievement. There's ten times more info in this short film than in Oliver Stone's ridiculous "JFK" which is twice as long.
Stone's 'JFK' indulges in some of the most unfocused teenage fantasizing ever filmed. 'Parkland' on the other hand presents without hype some aspects of the assassination story that show where the federal government did indeed fail: the failure to stop Oswald (the first of the "known wolves") and also the Secret Service's arrogant bullying of the Dallas coroner, in complete violation the governing law. If the Secret Service had followed the law instead of acting like the praetorian guard of a Roman emperor, there's a good chance that conspiracy theories could have died in the cradle as they should have. We'd never have had the questions that arose from the transportation of Kennedy's body back to Bethesda.
The other big movie I want to compare this one to is James Cameron's 'Titanic', which is as ridiculous as Stone's 'JFK.' Why oh why did Cameron, having been handed one of the most copiously documented and most dramatic stories of all time, feel the need to embellish it with an adolescent love story? The director of 'Parkland' shows much more artistic discipline not to mention better taste. He knows he's got a helluva story and he sticks very closely to it.
So this is a movie for grown-ups. In additional to being accurate history, it's a big black cup of hot drama, served up without cream or sugar. It'll certainly keep you awake.