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Parkland (2013)
November 22, 1963, 12:38 pm - A trauma patient is rushed to Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas. His name is President John F. Kennedy.
Director: Peter Landesman

November 22nd, 1963 was a day that changed the world forever — when young American President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas. This film follows, almost in real time, a handful of individuals forced to make split-second decisions after an event that would change their lives and forever alter the world’s landscape.

Parkland (2013)

Lossy Compression

The great idea here is the assumption that we already have a rich movie in our lives about the assassination, then to simply give us a handful of episodes about three people, real people. These episodes will deliver what happened with certified fidelity. All three folks are classical noir targets, ordinary folk manipulated by forces in the outer movie of real life.

Our memory of all films of the actual event taken that day springs from our outer movie about who we are. That should have helped this, even make it great. Most of us felt ourselves to be noir characters, manipulated by we could not understand. The more literal of use translated that to explanation by conspiracy.

It should also have helped that all the big scenes here are based on simple human behavior. No mention of conspiracy at all is discernible. We do see the FBI destroy files, but there is no mention of the 'lost‘ files from other agencies. All of that is outer film. And the actors were reliable enough. We get what we need of the immediate agencies involved: stunned, overwhelmed Secret Service and self serving FBI. Very impressive is the way the nature of the Dallas police is conveyed. Racist, redneck, incompetent and corrupt; all this conveyed by just a few well cast faces. All this would have been working for this film.

But, shucks, poor craft in the filmmaking got in the way. In failing, it made me cry. There seems to be a curse of incompetence with anything associated with this event, even something with the veracity of this. Some force has occluded vision, but I suppose that is me pulling my own external strings.

I suppose everyone will have a piece they think is essential but missing here. For me, that missing piece was the geometry of place, all the places. I’ve recently seen the 1965 "Spy Who Came In From the Cold." That is all about cinematic geometry and what places have agency. Could have used it here.

Posted in 2013

Ted’s Evaluation — 2 of 3: Has some interesting elements.


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