Saturday, September 21, 2013

Movie Review: Parkland (CIFF 2013)

Parkland is a film set around the death of JFK in Dallas in 1963. The focus is not on John on Jackie, but on the supporting characters to the story. Named after the hospital where JFK was taken after being shot, Parkland Memorial, the movie tells the stories that have not been heard before.

A version of what happened in the hospital room, the reaction of the secret service, the failure of the FBI, the man who filmed the entire situation and the family of Lee Harvey Oswald taking on the shame of their brother/son.

In theory, this is a interesting story. Riveting even. Unfortunately it is a story we have all heard so many times before it is hard to bring something new to the table to really make something fresh and new.

I was side tracked the entire time by all of the familiar faces in the film. There were a couple big names, Billy Bob Thorton, Zac Efron, Paul Giamatti and Marcia Gay Harden - but then the giant list of 'I've seen them somewhere before' actors followed.

It was so distracting that I sometimes forgot about the movie, I was trying to figure out where I had seen all of the other actors before. Ron Livingston (Sex and the City, Office Space), Mark Duplass (everything amazing, The Mindy Project), Tom Wellington (Smallville), Austin Nichols (One Tree Hill), Colin Hanks, the guy who played Landry's dad in Friday Night Lights, Elliot from The Newsroom...I could go on. All of those I figured out, but the one that was pissing me off the whole last half of the movie was the Medical Examiner...where have I seen him before?

It's not actually that shocking that I didn't recognize him to be Rory Cochrane. He had his hay days in the early 90s with Dazed and Confused and Empire Records - at which point he had much different hair and was stoned or being an abnormal youth.

I never did get over the overwhelming amount of familiar faces and I didn't buy for one second Zac Efron as a doctor. I did however extremely enjoy Paul Giamatti as Abraham Zapruder, the man who got the shooting on tape. Paul is a pro. He nailed that part, unfortunately it was only one of many story lines in the film. The only other one I was drawn to was that of Lee Harvey Oswald's family. His mother was a crazy old nut and his brother was just a normal guy whose life was about to be screwed by the insanity of his brother. That I could get into, everything else felt somewhat forced.

Verdict: 3.0 Stars


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