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Parkland
BLU-RAY disk
Nov 21, 2013 By: Mathew Plale
Parkland order download
Director:
Peter Landesman

Actors:
Paul Giamatti
Zac Efron
Billy Bob Thornton

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Parkland looks at the many people—from doctors and Abraham Zapruder to Secret Service agents and Lee Harvey Oswald—and events surrounding the days following President John F. Kennedy’s assassination.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
On November 22, 1963, President John F. Kennedy was killed in Dallas, Texas.

Parkland is set during that day and the three following it. Over the course, we meet a number of characters, both famous and not, involved in the chaos: Abraham Zapruder (Paul Giamatti), who recorded the assassination; doctors Charles James Carrico (Zac Efron) and Malcolm O. Perry (Colin Hanks), who tended to the wounds; FBI agent James P. Hosty (Ron Livingston), who investigated the case; Secret Service agents Forrest Sorrels (Billy Bob Thornton) and Roy Kellerman (Tom Welling), who were both in the motorcade; Father Oscar Hubert (Jackie Earle Haley), who gave JFK his last rites; and a 24-year-old man by the name of Lee Harvey Oswald (Jeremy Strong)

Writer/director Peter Landesman’s feature debut takes viewers to the emergency room at Parkland Memorial Hospital, FBI headquarters and more in an attempt to recreate the days that the filmmakers and documentarians who are so focused on conspiracies rarely touch on.

It’s hard not to appreciate that Landesman is taking a different approach and going to uncomfortable places (such as the operating room where Carrico so desperately tried to save JFK’s life) in order to shed light. But while he tries to capture the chaos, Parkland ends up being a muddled and overcrowded mess. There is simply too much there to cover in just over 80 minutes.

There could be several dozen narratives constructed from the JFK assassination: one on Zapruder’s life, another on the hospital staff that day, another on Lyndon B. Johnson and Jackie Kennedy aboard Air Force One, and on and on. But just one? The good intentions are there, but it seems so futile in the end. It may stretch over three hours, but at least Oliver Stone’s JFK had focus.

THE EXTRAS
Director’s Commentary: Despite gathering an enormous cast for the movie, writer/director Peter Landesman goes solo on this track. In it, he discusses everything from the purpose and the production to the cast and figures that inspired the characters.

Deleted Scenes (6:29): There are six brief scenes here, which can be viewed separately or as a whole. They are: “Hosty Lee 1,” “Hosty Lee 2,” “Nurse Nelson,” “Pull Over Funeral,” “Residents,” and “Zap.”

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DVD

FINAL DIAGNOSIS
Peter Landesman’s debut is an admirable effort with a tremendous cast (including Paul Giamatti, Zac Efron, Billy Bob Thornton, and more), but ultimately bites off more than it can chew, trying to cover too many people and events in so little time. Special features include a commentary and deleted scenes.
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