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“Parkland”

Written and directed by noted journalist Peter Landesman (his directorial debut), with a fantastic ensemble performance, this film looks at the assassination of President John F. Kennedy from  ground zero, from the perspective of the people whose lives were changed by the events of the day.  Becausde they were there. ParkIand is the name of the teaching hospital where both JFK and his accused assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald  were pronounced dead.

 

This  is NOT a movie that draw any conclusions on the who/what/whys of the murder that shattered a nation. It’s the story of the young doctors  and nurses who tended to the dying President , the people around  JFK that day,  Abraham Zapruder (who shot the famous homemade film of the entire event) , The Oswald family and the local FBI office, which had been in contact with Oswald before the day that changed the nation.

 

It’s a perspective not seen before. It’s fact-based. The director tells me no one can argue with any of the facts in his film.  You’ll learn a few new things. Mostly, this raises more questions than answers but gives an insight into what it was like for everyday people to be involved  in one of the most important and tragic moments of our history.

 

Zac Efron just astounds as the young e.r. doctor who tended to both JFK and then, days later, his accused killer Lee Harvey Oswald. Paul Giamatti is spot on as the conflicted Zapruder.  All of the performances , big or small, are stellar, including Oscar winner Marcia Gay Harden, Billy Bob Thornton,  Oscar nominee Jacki Weaver, Oscar nominee Jackie Earl Haley,  Mark Duplass, Colin Hanks and Ron Livingston.

 

Kudos too to the attention to detail because this is also a period piece, 50 years later.

 

For those  born after 1963, this is a must history lesson.  Before  our post-911 world, there was a post-1963 world.

 

3-and-a-half stars

 

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