2013 / Director. Peter Landesman.
The casting of PARKLAND reads like a Robert Altman film. It's a who's who of Hollywood and just when you think they can't squeeze any more personalities into the picture, another one pops up... and another... The film chronicles the aftermath of John F Kennedy's assassination in Dallas. It begins with the motorcade, the shooting and the chaotic frenzy that filled the city that afternoon. It's a historical account of the lives directly affected by Kennedy's death, as opposed to an investigation or biopic of the president's final hours. With the film we follow the medical staff at the Parkland hospital who not only worked on JFK but also Lee Harvey Oswald one day later. We also follow the man who filmed the famous footage of Kennedy being shot as well as Oswald's family, and secret service personnel. The film is erratic and volatile and captures the mayhem of the event really well. It never bothers to explore conspiracy theories or accommodate such notions and chooses to depict the events as they occurred. With this in mind and the information provided at the end it's safe to assume that it's a fairly accurate story. All of the countless performances are strong and there are some surprise revelations including Zac Efron and Tom Welling. It's also great to see Jackie Weaver reappearing in all sorts of Hollywood films. Having slogged it out in Australia for several decades she's finally getting the international recognition she deserves. She's excellent in PARKLAND as Lee Harvey Oswald's mentally unstable mother. There have been many films made on the subject over the years and PARKLAND serves as the least bias and potentially most accurate. It plays like a documentary and held me attention from start to finish. A solid film.