November 22, 1963 is a day which forever which change American History – the day President John F. Kennedy was assassinated by Lee Harvey Oswald. With great detail Writer/Director Peter Landesman recounts the series of events following the shooting from the desperate and bloodied attempts by Doctors Jim Carrico (Zac Efron) and Malcolm Perry (Colin Hanks) to resuscitate him at Dallas’ Parkland Hospital; to the Man who by chance recorded the shooting on his camera in Abraham Zapunder (Paul Giamatti); to the Brother Robert (James Badge Dale) and Mother Marguerite (Jacki Weaver) of the Accused, played by Jeremy Strong. We also see the blame and shame behind the scenes among the Men responsible for protecting the President, including one of his most trusted Right Hand Men Roy Kellerman (Tom Welling).
Make no mistake, Parkland doesn’t as much answer the question “Why” as much as it answers “How”, “When”, “Where” and “What”. With just the right amount of melodrama, Landesman examines the consequence of action with a fine tooth comb and he has just the perfect Ensemble Cast to bring to life the stories of those involved and impacted by one of the greatest American Tragedies of all time. To this day, it still is just as chilling and upsetting as it was when it was at the forefront on the American Conscience. He poses the question of violence countering violence and what it accomplishes and what it fails to accomplish beneath it all.
Front and center is James Badge Dale in a superb and thoughtful performance in the role of Lee Harvey Oswald‘s Brother, grappling with being a Brother and a Son, all while being an Enforcer of the Law himself. Giamatti is great as the emotionally tortured accidental Videographer of the Assasination, a Man content with his life until his World crumbles after JFK‘s death. Welling is convincing, angered by his own failure and driven to take control of the matter when all else are overcome with grief. Efron gives us maturity as he transitions from the Persona we know him as into the next stage of his Career as a bona fide Actor. Double Oscar Nominee Jacki Weaver is absolutely delightful in all her delusion as a Mother convinced that her Son Lee is a Hero.
Remstar Films releases Parkland on October 4, 2013 in limited release. Those attending TIFF ’13 have chances to see it:
Friday September 6 – Roy Thomson Hall at 9:30 PM
Sunday September 8 – Winter Garden Theatre at 12:30 PM