Parkland (2013)


Dave’s 3-Word Review:
JFK without conspiracy.

I remember the film JFK like it was yesterday, regardless of how long ago I saw it. It was such a stimulating and jaw dropping film that had the boldness and audacity to show actual footage of a murder as a plot device. The movie itself was really long, but there is something about the murder of the “most important man in the world” that causes an emotional reaction, even if you never even knew the man. Parkland is the same type of thing, it’s just without the conspiracy element. It’s nice to have a movie be straightforward with us without the need of conspiracy hoopla, but I think it loses traction somewhere in the middle.

The movie itself is about the aftermath of JFK’s assassination. The only difference between this movie and others like it was different perspectives and vantage points. The film based its perspective off of the lives of pretty much three different people: Dr. Carrico, the doctor who operated on JFK immediately after the assassination, Zapruder, the man who shot the legendary footage, and Bob Oswold, Lee’s brother who was caught in the crossfires…no pun intended. This all happens in the three days following the shooting.

Let’s start off with what I did like about the movie. The cast is sensational, and as is their performance. There is hardly a cast member in the film that you hadn’t heard of before, and for once that doesn’t make the film worse off. This isn’t an ensemble film, it just has a lot of great actors with great performances. The next thing that I liked was that they mixed the film together with actual footage and sound clips that you don’t normally see. Yeah, we’ve all seen the kill shot footage, and that’s the one footage they try to keep you shielded from here, instead it focuses on other clips just to increase that level of reality the film already had. Finally, I like a movie to impress me. What I mean by that is…I wasn’t around when JFK was. I didn’t know firsthand how much of an inspiration he was, and how much he was dearly loved as a man by our nation. If they are going to make a movie about him, or his death, I want the film to be able to successfully express that to me, and make me feel like I did know him, and Parkland did just that.  I also like that this film didn’t use conspiracy as the main plot, but that’s where the film starts to fall flat on my radar.

The things I didn’t like about the film had to do with story progression. The film starts out with a bang…okay pun intended that time. However, instead of the story climbing and climbing before hitting a climax, the film opens up with a climax. The rest of the movie is just downhill. It likes to focus on foreign perspectives and emotion, which it does a fine job at doing, but other than that…we don’t really…have a good reason to watch it. I also never even heard of the movie before, and that should say something right there. The only reason I fell upon it was because after watching several episodes of Smallville, I wanted to watch something else that Tom Welling was in, and voila. Parkland.

I want to give this movie a great score, because while you’re watching you know the actors are doing a magnificent job at creating emotional scenes. You also really like the different perspectives that this film offers…but it ultimately isn’t enough. If you’re like me and want something else to happen than what does…this film just isn’t for you.

The Good:

In short, Parkland has an unbelievable display of emotional performances that remind the nation how shocking it was for their commander-in-chief to suddenly not be their commander-in-chief.

The Bad:

There just isn’t enough purpose in the film…viewers may start asking themselves why they’re watching it in the first place. When you have two movies that cover the same thing, one being one of the most famous movies out there…what would you choose?

Memorable Quote:

Dallas Police Detective: [to Robert Oswald] If I were you, I’d consider changing my name. I’d pray I never needed the help of the Dallas Police Department or the federal government again. I’d pack your things and your wife and those two children of yours, and I’d move as far from here as I could. I’d never come back, even to die. But that’s just me.

One thought on “Parkland (2013)

  1. I have a copy of “Parkland” and I should get off my ass and watch it already. I meant to do a back to back review of this and “Killing Kennedy” (which I did) but it didn’t work out that way. I love films about JFK but this one about the aftermath has always intrigued me. Good review, Dave.


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