If you thought you knew everything about the assassination of JFK on 22 November, 1963, think again, because this film shows events from a totally different perspective.
Compiled like a documentary following different characters as they go about their business, Parkland refers to Parkland hospital where the president was taken after the fatal shooting.
But, before we get to that, we follow the numerous agents who were charged with protecting him (led by a very impressive Billy Bob Thornton); the businessman Abraham Zapruder (Paul Giamatti) whose home footage was to prove so shocking, and the doctors and nurses at said hospital getting excited because the president is coming to town. We even get to see Robert Oswald (James Badge Dale), elder brother of assassin Lee Harvey as he eats his lunch and listens to events unfolding on the radio.
Then those shots ring out and nothing will ever be the same again.
While the special agents appear to go into meltdown, rushing the body straight to Parkland and arguing with the local police over who has jurisdiction, the surgeons (led by Zac Efron) do everything they can to save the president’s life, but all to no avail. Things then get very confused (both in real life and on screen) as Airforce One is made ready to take the Vice President as well as the ex-president’s body out of Dallas.
What makes the film so surprising and so affecting is that even though you know what the outcome will be, director Peter Landesman manages to ratchet up the tension to such a degree you’ll find yourself biting your nails and catching your breath in the whirlwind of action and events. Everyone panics, everyone scrabbles around and argues and the only person who seems to have any self-control is the theatre Sister (Marcia Gay Harden) who has the foresight to collect a cross from her locker to place on the coffin.
So, don’t believe you know everything about the shooting of President Kennedy; this film shows with great clarity just how much was going on in the background.