A potentially gripping study of the fallout from the JFK assassination as experienced by his doctors, secret service agents and the man who famously photographed the incident is rendered tame by a combination of flat writing and overly busy storytelling.
The characters are many and largely forgettable: Zac Efron and Colin Hanks are anxious and overworked as physicians at the Parkland Memorial Hospital where Kennedy (and later his assassin Lee Harvey Oswald) ultimately expired, while Billy Bob Thornton, Tom Welling and Mark Duplass bustle about and yell at each other as the President’s security detail. A few performances stand out: Paul Giamatti is typically schlubby and mournful as the unfortunate amateur cameraman Abraham Zapruder, James Badge Dale makes for a nicely terse and relatable Robert Oswald (brother of Lee) while Jacki Weaver is toothily satanic as his grasping, devious mother Marguerite.
But the film as a whole just doesn’t work: over a couple of hours – or better still a TV miniseries – there would’ve been time to explore these conflicted characters. But at 93 minutes, ‘Parkland’ feels like a sprint, lining up the incidents then slamming through them without pause for breath. The effect is initially effective but eventually rather tedious, as the film becomes just an uninvolving parade of men in smart hats smoking and growling at each other in operating theatres, private planes and poorly lit offices.
|Release date:||Friday November 22 2013|
Cast and crew
Billy Bob Thornton
Marcia Gay Harden
Jackie Earle Haley