Last month, in an empty movie theater in Washington, DC, I saw “Parkland,” the Tom Hanks-Peter Landesmann film about the assassination of President Kennedy. I was so underwhelmed I didn’t know what to say.
The fact that the movie tanked at the box office and puzzled critics indicated its presentation of JFK’s murder as a fairly ordinary homicide in Texas had no resonance, even with elite media organizations imbued with a cultural affinity for the lone gunman theory. So I decided I would write something after the 50th anniversary and I never got around to it.
Then a British pundit, Dr. James Boys, wrote this review, which pretty much said everything I was going to say, and said it better.
For those interested in a deeper post-mortem of this misbegotten movie, I can recommend Jim DiEugenio’s book-length dissection, “Reclaiming Parkland.”
‘A near total failure’
While Boys’ whole review is worth reading. I will quote only the ending.
“The movie fits into a very strange and increasingly conservative interpretation of the assassination and indeed, Kennedy’s life and legacy. 25 years ago, in 1988, it was not only permissible, but encouraged to look for complexity and contradictions in the official verdict and several programs aired that claimed to name second gunmen.”
“While these efforts clearly went too far and were revealed to be flawed, they did at least seek to present a series of dilemmas that are at the heart of the assassination to the wider public. This is no longer the case. 2013 has revealed a near total failure to challenge the Warren Commission and indeed, has served merely to reinforce some of the more bizarre and far-fetched findings of that troubled report. It is indeed a strange world when a president can be killed in suspicious circumstances and it is those who are asking the difficult questions that are portrayed as being nut cases…”
JFK at the movies
“The cinema of assassination inspired by JFK” (May 2, 2013)
“The escapist impulse of ‘Letters to Jackie,” (June 20, 2013)
“Which David Mamet will direct his JFK film?” (May 18, 2103)
“The Bystander Theory’ offers an indie take on JFK” (Sept. 14, 2103)