• PG-13, 1 hr. 33 min.
  • Drama
  • Directed By:
    Peter Landesman
    In Theaters:
    Oct 4, 2013 Limited
    On DVD:
    Nov 5, 2013
  • Exclusive Releasing

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Parkland Reviews

Page 2 of 16
Dave J
September 5, 2014
Friday, September 5, 2014

(2013) Parkland
HISTORICAL DRAMA

I'd be a millionaire, if I can get a dollar to physically see how every person died that's important in my life. I mean, seriously do I really need to see President John Fitzgerald Kennedy in gory detail on an operating table, as well as Lee Harvey Oswald attempted to be revived at the "Parkland hospital. At this point, I'm going to have say this is where a line should be drawn since it neither provides anything new we don't know ourselves. What had happened before with the secret service those same mistakes shouldn't happen again. But it's like all of this is already common knowledge. What is there to gain from viewers watching this. I'm going to have to say it's more relevant for fanatics of the 'assassination of JFK' who don't know how to let things go. If this movie showcases the way it was in the way JFK was shot, how come there was no mentioning in regards to the bullet. Why didn't the filmmakers address that? Because it didn't, meaning that it's only limited to a few people affected out of many. I don't hate it but it's plot less and boring.

2 out of 4 stars
John Tandlich
September 2, 2014
Riveting account of the chaotic events that occurred following Presient Kennedy's assassination in Dallas. Named for the hospital where Kennedy was taken, Parkland weaves together the perspectives of a handful of ordinary individuals suddenly thrust into extraordinary circumstances: the doctors and nurses at Parkland Hospital; Dallas's chief of the Secret Service; an unwitting cameraman who captured what became the most famous home movie in history; the FBI agents who were visited by Lee Harvey Oswald before the shooting; Oswald's brother and mother; and JFK's political and security team, witnesses to both the president's death and the makeshift inauguration of Lyndon Johnson.

By looking at the tragedy from a number of different viewpoints, Parkland effectively conveys the confusion and horror that surrounded Kennedy's killing. We can see how unprepared everyone in Dallas was that day, and how they all struggled to grasp the devastating implications of it. The pacing, especially in the first half hour, is tight, creating a palpable sense of the bombshell that just hit. The most interesting sections focus on the Secret Service agents, one of whom comments that they're the first in their job ever to lose a president, and on Abraham Zapruder who filmed the assassination on his home camera. Outstandingly portrayed by Giamatti, the Zapruder we see here despises the fact that he filmed the killing. While he cooperates with authorities, he's well aware that the images captured by his camera will be seen by the public, and that deeply troubles him.

The first-rate cast includes James Badge Dale (as Robert Oswald), Marcia Gay Harden (as a head nurse), Billy Bob Thornton (as a Secret Service officer), Ron Livingstone (as an FBI agent haunted by the fear that he may have inadvertently dismissed the threat posed by Oswald), Paul Giamatti (as Abraham Zapruder), Zac Efron (as a young trauma doctor), Jacki Weaver (as Oswald's mother), Tom Welling, Jeremy Strong, Jackie Earle Hayley, Gary Clarke, and Kat Steffens (as a poignantly affecting Jacqueline Kennedy). Each character has their moment to shine and Landesman manages to get some of the best performances from his cast in the moments that highlight the confusion and uncertainty that everyone was feeling on that day. An example of this is the chaotic scene in the operating room where Nurse Nelson is the first to take charge and get the team moving. The situation is highlighted by the fact that the Secret Service, F.B.I. agents and government officials all want to be in the operating room. Also, the frenetic attempts to get Kennedy's coffin aboard Air Force One and the struggle to remove seats so the coffin did not have to be transported in the cargo hold.

Of all the characters in the film, it is Paul Giamatti's portrayal of Abraham Zapruder who is the fastest to recognize the enormity of the event. He knows right away that he has filmed the death of a President and is instantly aware that his film footage will change the fortunes of his family forever. This is brought home by Zapruder's reluctance to hand over a copy of the film to Life Magazine only after they agreed that they would not publish the kill shot. Later he remarks that he wished he had never shot the footage. Parkland shows the extent that Zapruder and the head of the Dallas Secret Service, played by well Billy Bob Thornton, went to have the film developed. The reflectionon Zapruder's eyeglasses as he watches the assassination for the first time is memorable.

Parkland includes an angle not commonly explored in other films about Kennedy's assassination: the reaction by Oswald's family after the shooting, particularly his brother. This is emphasized by a Dallas police officer advising Robert Oswald, well portrayed by James Badge Dale, to leave Texas with the rest of his family and change his name, implying that they would not be safe if they remained in the State. It also touched upon Oswald's burial, in which Robert Oswald had to ask reporters to serve as pall bearers because no one else would. He contrasted well with Jacki Weaver as Oswald's mother Marguerite Oswald who had the deluded notion that her son was actually a government agent assigned to kill Kennedy. She even believes a potential book deal could come out of this tragedy.

Parkland moves at a rapid clip. It explores areas of the shooting and aftermath that have been underrepresented on film. He takes the audience through the events leading up to, and after, one of the most significant moments in American history. At the heart of the film is two very different attempts to save a life and two very different funerals. The scenes in the hospital are so closely shot that you feel like you are right there as the events are unraveling. Landesman's use of hand held cameras heightens the sense of panic and chaos that must have occurred in the operating room as the doctors struggled to save Kennedy. Parkland is a well shot and well-acted drama and is a powerful portrayal of a hugely substantial event in American history. It is compelling and the performances - especially Giamatti's and Dale's - are strong. Parkland" has a documentary-like feel at times. Kennedy is shot seven and a half minutes in; and he's dead 22 minutes in; but the movie is not about him, but rather those who were touched by his violent death. While not bound for classic status, the film still manages to capture a moment in time that changed our country.
ElmosLively
August 21, 2014
A great all star cast can't save this uneven story that explores the few hours and days after the death of JFK. The first 30 minutes is very intense, but that intensity just devolves into a very melodramatic script and very pedestrian direction. This film had so much potential but unfortunately just misses the mark.
August 11, 2014
Late review : it 's August 2014 and I just watched Parkland. I was deeply moved by this movie, because it successfully demystifies one of the greatest trauma's in American history. At that same time it shows an historical bottom-up view of the shock this event had on the people who were confronted with it from close by. The film requires some notion of the political atmosphere in the early sixties to truly understand the impact this assassination had nationally and also internationally. No great theories here, it leaves the viewer behind with a seemingly chaotic reality behind which deep emotions emerge, invested in a man who was held a living symbol of the American Dream. Personally : best movie I've seen in years !
July 26, 2014
An ok film, they could of done more to the film. It left off wanting more. I just think that the writing wasn't that good, charaters weren't fully developed. I wouldn't want to watch this film again or buy it on Blu-Ray. B-
Drew B.
July 25, 2014
Intriguing in perspective shifts, cinematography, and narrative structure, Parkland is a smart and well put-together film that stands as a historical epic.
July 21, 2014
Far and away the most poignant and heart-rendering film ever made about the assassination of one of our most beloved Presidents. Have no illusions about this story, it is not easy to watch, Kennedy's murder was always something we learned about in Hollywood blockbusters, this was far more personal. People will say there was nothing new about the examination of the Kennedy assassination, but seeing it through the eyes of the Secret Service, the medical team who tried to save him, his staff and most tragically, his wife made it feel far more powerful than anything I've seen before. It's nothing short of unforgettable, but be prepared to be shaken to your core.
The Wizard
July 21, 2014
What was the point???? Boring.
starlett2005
July 19, 2014
Parkland is a disappointing film. It is about a recounting of the chaotic events that occurred at Dallas' Parkland Hospital on the day U.S. President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. Zac Efron and Tom Welling give terrible performances. The screenplay is badly written. Peter Landesman did a horrible job directing this movie. I was not impressed with this motion picture.
Brett C.
July 9, 2014
Review In A Nutshell:

Parkland is about three stories that are connected to the Kennedy assassination.

The film's plot definitely sounds interesting, as it allows the audience to gain a better insight into the day of the murder, showing us the other players involved in the horrible event and how it has affected them. I am not an expert on the Kennedy assassination, but I also am not an ignorant; I know the key players involved in the event and I have a rough idea on what happened to the president but I do lack the understanding and knowledge of how it has impacted the nation. So in watching this, I wanted to learn more, I wanted the film to show me something that I don't already know. In a way that is what I got, it definitely showed me perspectives of the story that I have yet seen or read about, but it was executed in such a poor way. The film's three stories were injected with such high levels of melodrama that all of its objective qualities have been smeared and blurred; director Peter Landesman instead placed all of its power on the film's "emotions". This approach would have been better if he was handling a fictitious story, as that way we are able to come into the film with a clearer mindset. The film is filled with so much cringe worthy dialogue that I found it difficult to care for whatever it is that is happening in the film. Landesman clearly wants us to care about its characters, but how can we when he doesn't even give us anything more than what is already clear on the surface. The only story where I feel Landesman has succeeded in keeping me engaged and caring for the characters is Abraham Zapruder's story about the video he captured of the assassination, because the film was able to go beyond of the story's objective, it was able to explore the emotions of the character, showing us how this event has changed his life forever.

The film features a documentary style of photography, utilising the hand held style in order to have its audience transported to the day of the event, like as if we are seeing these stories first hand. Sometimes this method worked for me, other times it didn't. When it did work, tension was elevated and emotional moments hit right on the mark. When they don't, it highlights the film's faults which make it difficult for me to give the film the slightest bit of care. The film's score was, like the photography, so-so. There are moments where it comes off effective, while other moments it simply comes off as manipulative and tiresome.

The film features a number of great actors that delivered forgettable performances, and it is such a shame because I truly thought this was going to at least win me over in the film's acting department. The only actor in this film that stood out and maintained throughout an effective performance is Paul Giamatti as he was able to transmit that pain and heartbreak that a human would have felt during that event. Everyone in this film that tries to do this, instead came off as frustrating as just because you shed a tear doesn't necessarily mean it makes your performance better. Zac Efron was severely miscast in this film, his face is way too youthful to be appropriate for the role; I think if he was instead replaced by Tom Welling, who played one of the agents, then it would have been more convincing.

Parkland tries to show or tell us something new but fails to have us care for any of it due to its intense focus on amplifying its emotions. I suggest skipping this as it most likely won't change or add to anyone's perspective of the event.
July 6, 2014
The film examines the assassination of John F. Kennedy, starting with him being taken to Parkland Hospital, which incidentally is where Oswald was taken after being shot as well. It looks at the story from several perspectives, including the family of Oswald, and the FBI agents who had been tracking Oswald. Interesting stuff, but I think the film is a little too ambitious with the number of characters it wants to follow, and the script isn't strong enough, so the film doesn't live up to its potential. Worth a watch though.
June 17, 2014
This doesn't offer anything really new. The JFK movie has been overdone. There are decent performances in this, but it's fairly mediocre overall.
June 7, 2014
Um comovente roteiro
May 31, 2014
Enjoyed this very much. Spoiler alert: not the world's happiest movie.
May 29, 2014
The movie is well acted, but has some historical inaccuracies that bother me, especially since I am a huge JFK buff. I thought the movie would mainly center around what happened at Parkland hospital, but it kept jumping around with the stories about Robert Oswald, Agent Hosty, Abraham Zapruder, etc. I really would have liked if they did a whole movie about just what had happened at Parkland Hospital that fateful day in November of 1963. I also believe that the JFK assassination was a conspiracy and the screenplay is based on a book written by a person who believed Oswald acted alone, Vincent Bugliosi, so I may be a little biased on my review.
May 24, 2014
I liked the movie in its concept. I also liked the acting in general and I learnt a bit watching this movie but I think this movie could have been done much better. The direction wasn't crisp and the blocking/movement of character could have been explored more. It was slightly more commercial than I would have liked. Dialogues needed another draft. But, it is definitely a watch if you have nothing better.
May 23, 2014
Most interesting to see how Parkland Hospital may have handled this horrible day in Dallas. Really Interesting Story to me. Well acted. Most interesting was not only the Hospital Staff but the Secret Service and how they had to fight with the local Medical Examiner to get the Casket on Air Force One. Delved into the lives of Oswald Family. Tragic all around.
May 10, 2014
Good about the movie is that it offers a ground view of the events in Dallas and does not engage in any speculation. However, how accurately can these characters in the wings be portrayed 50 years after the fact? I have my serious doubts. Direction is a bit heavy handed, and I am not sure of what this film is trying to say. Bottom line: Better than Oliver Stone's JFK.
April 27, 2014
Some of the critics downgrade this movie because of it's so-called trivial nature. I actually think that is its strength. It is the trivial that makes such an event real. An act that happened 50 years ago needs to be illuminated with as much detail and from as many points of view as possible - if, for nothing else, to make it 'real' for generations to come. I believe this move does that and does it very well.
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