Posted: October 7, 2013 in Movie Reviews


We are all know about the JFK assassination. We are all aware that killings are awful, terrible affairs, and we know that this one in particular was no exception. But what we don’t think about is how the men and women who became engulfed in the flood of confusion and anguish in the following days coped with it. What was it like for the doctors and nurses who had to attend to a dying president? What did the family of alleged killer Lee H. Oswald have to endure? What did a shocked and bereaved nation feel when their Commander in Chief was brutally assassinated? This is what Parkland—–one of the most heartbreaking “docu-dramas”—–strives to convey.



Parkland  recounts the events of November 22, 1963—–the day that President Kennedy was shot in the head while riding through Dallas, Texas. Kennedy is quickly rushed to Parkland hospital where every doctor and nurse on Parkland_paul giamattiduty quickly wishes that they never had been, and within a half hour President Kennedy is no more. In a state of sheer confusion and anger, the Texas police and the president’s secret service must determine who killed the beloved president and why.

The only vital piece of evidence they have in determining perhaps the nation’s most horrendous homicide is a single 0:40 video shot on an 8mm camera owned by citizen Abraham Zapruder (played by Paul Giamatti). The video leads them to Lee H. Oswald, the presumed killer of one of our nation’s most influential leaders. Although the supposed killer was caught and the video provided innumerable help, the JFK assassination remains to this day the biggest unsolved mystery in U.S. history.


 It was a beautiful, sunshiny day in Dallas, Texas; very common for the country’s southernmost state. The town was all abuzz preparing for the arrival of the president, and morale couldn’t be higher. President Kennedy was welcomed with all the cheer and admiration that a country could ever bestow on their leader. But that all ended in a single second when cheers turned to shrieks of horror as our Commander in Chief slumped forward and never woke.

 Parkland  is one of those films that doesn’t seek to entertain, but to shake your world. When it ends, you just sit there and think. You think about how atrocious it all was, and how you might have reacted had you been there. You think about the many lives that were affected, and suddenly reflect upon the events of 9-11 and how horrendous that all was.

This isn’t the type of film that you analyze inch by inch, examining how effect the narrative is; how profound the cinematography is; whether the lighting worked well with the mood and style of the film; discussing the balance between action and dialogue. With Parkland, you simply watch it and become absorbed with the story. It doesn’t give you time to observe the lighting or the effectiveness of the script. It only presents you with the true events and gives you possible insight into the way America felt.

PARKLANDEvery actor plays their part well, perfectly conveying the sheer horror and shock that every person who was involved encountered. The film perfectly blends the actual footage taken on the day with the replicated footage shot for the film, giving you a true sense of the mood of the day. It doesn’t sugarcoat a thing, leaving you with a repulsion that is only magnified by the fact that everything you see actually happened; it was real. It wasn’t a made-up story or a dumbed-down narrative, it actually happened 50 years ago.



In a nutshell:

Nothing more can be said, except go see it. It’s the kind of film every American needs to see, and it’s a most humbling experience you won’t easily forget.


8.5 stars


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