Review by Amanda Gilmore for Mr. Will Wong
Chappaquiddick delivers one of Jason Clarke’s finest performances to date.
The Film chronicles the days after the 1969 car crash that ended Ted Kennedy’s (Jason Clarke) shot at a presidential nomination. On July 18, 1969 Sen. Ted Kennedy accidentally drove his car off a bridge on Chappaquiddick Island. While Ted was able to escape from the car his passenger, 28-year-old Campaign Strategist Mary Jo Kopechne (Kate Mara), who worked for the Kennedy campaign, had drowned. When an investigation is sparked into the scandal, Ted struggles with his actions and maintaining political legacy.
Chappaquiddick does a good job of bringing its story to audiences. Director John Curran and Writers Taylor Allen and Andrew Logan make this decades-old story relevant today. The Film works because it mirrors certain questions people are having today about how far political officials can go, without being held accountable. The Script gives the audience an experience and access to the story that they weren’t given before. And Curran’s pacing of the event and the investigation following it leaves room for tension to build. He also assembles a talented Cast.
The one who leads the pack is Clarke who is a powerhouse as Kennedy. He plays Kennedy’s immense guilt against his desperation he had for a political career. During the scandal, American citizens were confused about their feelings towards Kennedy. Clarke creates this feeling for the screen. Not allowing the audience to say definitvlively whether or not Kennedy is evil. Rather, his expressive performance forces audiences to question the incident and the man behind it. Then there is the rest of the Cast, who are superb. Mara is great playing the young, bright Mary Jo. Ed Helms is a standout as the close Kennedy friend and aide, Joe Gargan. And Bruce Dern gives a stellar performance of the patriarch, Joe Kennedy.
Overall, Chappaquiddick delivers great performances from the entire cast lead by a powerhouse performance by Clarke.
D FILMS release CHAPPAQUIDDICK on Friday, April 6, 2018.