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Parkland (Peter Landesman, 2013)

The stories of some of the bystanders of the Kennedy assassination after the event is explored.

Watching this made me realize that many things can go wrong in a movie. Unfortunately, the whole film felt like a documentary-reenactment for TV with many of the big names just being in it to up their Imdb star-meter ranking.

Biggest problem of the film is that for some reason the makers assumed that there is a general emotional level of shock about the assassination they can build upon. I don't have that, and neither did anybody in the audience. So most people sat through it, obviously bored and desperately trying to attach themselves to at least one of the characters. But nobody stays on the screen long enough that we can really understand what problems they are developing. At one point it becomes comical, but nothing suggests that there might be irony in this film. (Trying to get the coffin into Air Force One is bizarrely funny, but it just doesn't work)

Most of the time the poor sods depicted are shown in a state of utter disbelief, aggravated shock or in tears. Side characters do the talking for them, stating the obvious, mostly. The over-sentimental music does its best to exaggerate these scenes. Oh, those poor poor righteous citizens - at one point I was wondering if the producers were trying to stir anti-American sentiments by releasing this film. Yes, it was that annoying. People left the cinema swearing and head-shaking. Somebody called it the 'most expensive masturbation' on the big screen they had ever witnessed, and, 'a Republican wet dream' (?). Too bad, Gore Vidal isn't alive anymore. He would have had a field day on reviewing this one.

For me, the worst was that the script misses a fantastic opportunity: The complicated situation that Lee Harvey Oswald's brother is faced with and how he tries to deal with his dysfunctional family, while at the same time his brother is possibly the most hated person in the world. As we learn at the end of the film, he never changed his name. But I've really would have liked to know, what he and his wife and kids had to endure in the years to follow. The actor James Badge Dale (who was really good in the little room they gave him here) could have had his big chance with this character. Now, that would have been a great movie. 

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