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JFK (SE)
DVD disk
Oct 5, 2004 By: Indiana Sev
JFK (SE) order
Director:
Oliver Stone

Actors:
Kevin Costner
Kevin Bacon
Tommy Lee Jones

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Three years after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, New Orleans district attorney Jim Garrison (Costner) launches an investigation into the possibility of a conspiracy involving Kennedy’s murder. He soon discovers a mass cover-up in this fascinating mix of fact & speculation.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
There aren’t many films that have the ability to pull you in from the beginning and capture your attention as much as JFK does. This is a movie about heroes. It is a film that beautifully weaves the passion some have for exposing the truth along with the depths of deceit and evil to which others will sink – to cover it up. It’s a gutsy and groundbreaking movie, formulating sometimes wild, sometimes probable theories to one of the most tragic events in U.S. history. It often feels like a documentary, it becomes a courtroom drama, it’s a mystery, a bio-pic, a historical puzzle to figure out. It’s everything in one. It doesn’t condescend to its viewers or forcefully tell them what to believe. It shows all sides, all possible ways this assassination could have gone down and lets you decide for yourself by bringing forth many facts and theories-- a privilege the American people did not have after the President’s death in 1963. It is brave, intelligent, important, entertaining and cinematically impressive. It’s brilliant filmmaking.

One thing that really stands out in JFK is the manner by which Stone uses many different approaches and styles in shooting the film. He uses actual flashbacks, theoretical flashbacks, quick & timely editing, different film stocks (8mm, 35mm, 16mm) and actual footage from that fateful day on November 22nd. All this helps to convincingly pull you into the world of conspiracy and confusion that Stone wants to project. By doing this, the director manages to put you right in the shoes of Garrison, and like him, you struggle to separate the folly from the fact. There is no black & white in this movie, it’s all just a wonderful shade of gray. And so you feel like a participant in the investigation, so much so that your range of emotions will fluctuate from satisfaction, disappointment and frustration over and over again.

The final scene in the courtroom in which Costner gives his powerful and incredibly moving speech manages to encapsulate the film’s message perfectly. Easily one of the most emotionally honest and compelling scenes I’ve ever seen. From its stellar cast (Tommy Lee Jones, Joe Pesci, Donald Sutherland, Jack Lemmon, Kevin Bacon, Gary Oldman, Sissy Spacek, John Candy), rousing score and creative direction, to the way it entertains and educates, this is one of those rare films that will disappoint but a miniscule few. Perfect is the only word that comes to mind.
THE EXTRAS
Audio Commentary by Oliver Stone: Stone is one of the most intelligent directors in the biz and listening to his commentary was a real pleasure. Stone coolly distributes facts about the filming and the history of what happened on November 22nd as well as the days and years following the assassination. He has no qualms about stating his opinions and thoughts and comes off as a very sincere and sympathetic man. A very stirring and gratifying commentary track.

Documentary: Beyond JFK: The Question of Conspiracy: If the movie doesn’t satisfy your enquiring mind enough, then this documentary is right up your alley. This is a thoroughly compelling 90-minute documentary that delves even deeper into the case, from real-life testimony and footage from many of the characters portrayed in the film, to the reporters and witnesses who were there the day of the shooting. There are opinions from those who think Stone’s JFK is nothing but propaganda and others who think he’s done a brave and honorable thing by bringing this different interpretation of the happenings out in the open. Some classic footage of Lee Harvey Oswald, Jim Garrison, Jack Ruby, Clay Shaw et al. is another one of its great highlights. The director and many of the actors from the film also chime in with their impressions and experiences on the film and the actual tragedy. A remarkable addition to this 2-disc Special Edition DVD set.

12 Deleted/Extended Scenes: Most of these are extended scenes already existing in the film with a few scattered ones that didn’t make the cut altogether. Worth checking out, if only for Stone’s optional commentary in which he expands more about the film and the scenes in question.

Multimedia Essays: A couple of features that expand more on the ideas brought up in the film. The first: “Meet Mr. X: The Personality and Thoughts of Fletcher Prouty” lasts about 10 minutes and has Prouty (the man on which Sutherland’s Mr. X character was based) providing some of his impressions on the conspiracy theory explored in JFK. The second, “Assassination Update – The New Documents”, is a half-hour long ditty that focuses on some new findings and reports released after JFK’s release. More great fodder for conspiracy buffs.

Theatrical Trailer, Cast & Crew Info, Awards and DVD-ROM Features.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
The quintessential Oliver Stone picture, JFK is pure movie magic! Great acting, enthralling story and brilliant direction made this film one the best to come out of the nineties and with its exciting extras, this is one DVD that belongs in everyone’s collection. An important and innovative film experience to be enjoyed over and over again…
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