Here come snapshots from Tom Hanks’s upcoming JFK flick, courtesy of the Hollywood blog, Rope of Silicon.
Among the star-studded cast, Paul Giamatti plays Abraham Zapruder, the Dallas dressmaker who filmed the fatal motorcade. It sure looks like the movie will replicate the look of 1963 with the panache of “Mad Men.”
Whether the movie makes for compelling entertainment is another question. ROS blogger Brad Brevet has the film on his list of potential Oscar contenders. Is it going to be that good?
Like Oliver Stone, Hanks is a skilled mythmaker who wants to say something about American history in an entertaining way. His film, directed by journalist Peter Landesman, comes with Hanks’s and Landesman’s firm conviction that we know the causes of Kennedy’s death.
The film, which recreates that day as seen through the eyes of the doctors and nurses at Parkland Hospital where JFK was pronounced dead, seems to offer both up close and bloody drama and a reassuring message:
That all (or mostly all) was good and right in America in 1963; that President Kennedy didn’t have enemies who wanted to defeat his policies in Cuba and Vietnam; with the happy if unstated implication that the Washington press corps did its job and we need not fear secretive government agencies today.
Those are all nice thoughts that make Americans feel good. They promise to appeal to moviegoers who want to sit in a dark room and emerge refreshed and inspired.
But most Americans understand JFK assassination’s was not merely the launch pad for an emergency room drama (starring Zac Efron as the handsome, sensitive doctor) but a “national security event” that is still covered up by the CIA and enshrouded in official secrecy and has never been explained by the U.S. government in a compelling way.
A JFK drama that doesn’t deal with that reality is escapist fare for those with faith in government. Which may be the point.
An Oscar contender? I’d say frontrunner — for the coveted costume design honor.