Maybe it’s partly because I have not caught up with the over-saturation of Kennedy documentaries, dramas and films flooding televisions over the past few weeks but I think Parkland has been much maligned. It’s a very competent, low key drama about the events just after the Kennedy assassination, neatly tracking the logical steps of decision making amidst such an awful event. It feels wrong to put the dead president’s body in the cargo, but how do we fit the coffin through the aeroplane door?
I love films which trace logic so exactly and that’s what Parkland is good at, which makes everything feel rather real even if it doesn’t contain the sense of utter chaos you might expect. It takes multiple angles, beginning at the scene of the Parkland hospital where JFK and later Lee Harvey Oswald were taken. It also looks at what happened to Abraham Zapruder’s (played by Paul Giamatti) amateur film of the assassination, the FBI cover-up of their prior knowledge of Oswald’s instability and the story of Oswald’s brother, an often overlooked, innocent victim in the tragedy. The latter story was particularly effective and the threads intertwine well to create an effective painting of the days just after.
Review by David Rank
Parkland is out now in the UK and US . Running time 93 mins. Certificate 15 (UK).