Run time: 93mins
Director: Peter Landesman
Cast: Zac Efron, Marcia Gay Harden, Billy Bob Thornton, Jacki Weaver, Paul Giamatti, James Badge Dale and Ron Livingston.
Synopsis: Recounting the chaotic events that occurred in Dallas, Texas on November 22, 1963, the day President John F. Kennedy was assassinated, the film weaves together the perspectives of a handful of ordinary individuals suddenly thrust into extraordinary circumstances: the young doctors and nurses at Parkland Hospital; Dallas’ chief of the Secret Service; an unwitting cameraman who captured what became the most watched and examined film in history; the FBI agents who nearly had the gunman within their grasp; the brother of assassin Lee Harvey Oswald, left to deal with his shattered family; and JFK’s security team, witnesses to both the President’s death and Vice President Lyndon Johnson’s rise to power over a nation whose innocence was forever altered.
Released to mark the 50th anniversary of the cataclysmic events, Peter Landesman’s deeply moving and evocative first film is not concerned with the last fifty years of conspiracy theories and deconstructions of JFK’s Presidency, character and family. Instead we meet the ordinary people who became caught up in the horror of that original nightmare on Elm Street.
President John F Kennedy was young, charismatic, with a glamorous wife. He was the first President suitable for the television age – and he was dead less than an hour after arriving in Dallas that Friday.
Based on Vincent Bugliosi’s book Four Days in November, the film features very strong and convincing performances from an outstanding ensemble cast.
After giving his employees permission to watch the Presidential motorcade, Abraham Zapruder (Paul Giamatti) left his offices in the Dal-Tex Building, with his 8 mm Bell & Howell Zoomatic Director Series Model 414 PD camera. Zapruder selected a concrete pedestal vantage point in Elm Street, his receptionist Marilyn Sitzman (Bitsie Tulloch) prepared to steady him from behind and he began filming, from thirty yards, as the President’s limousine turned onto Elm Street in front of the Book Depository. The next 26.6 seconds were captured on 486 frames of Kodak Kodachrome II safety film and became one of the most famous films ever shot. Zapruder had inadvertently filmed the murder of the most powerful man on earth. He was never to use that camera again.
At the hospital, Dr. Charles James “Jim” Carrico (Zac Efron); Head Nurse Doris Nelson (Marcia Gay Harden) and Dr. Malcolm O Perry (Colin Hanks) will battle to save the life of the President and later deal with the death of Lee Harvey Oswald.
Office clerk Robert Oswald (James Badge Dale) is the bewildered brother who, with his deranged mother, Marguerite (Jacki Weaver) has to cope with the horror, and the banal and depressing aftermath of having a relative named as the assassin and soon after murdered also.
As the conventional Secret Service Agent Forrest Sorrels (Billy Bob Thornton) struggles to keep his emotions in check, local FBI agent James Hosty (Ron Livingston) becomes increasingly drawn into the political machinations around the event.
Parkland takes us back in time and agonising detail to the aftermath of an act of appalling violence – the effects of which still reverberate after five decades.
Images courtesy of Koch Media