What was everyone else doing?
Much like Bobby, a film about John F Kennedy's younger brother's assassination, Parkland follows a similar formula where it follows the lives of random citizens on that day.
Only unlike Bobby, these citizens are a lot less random in relevance to the story. We see the nurses and doctors at Parkland Hospital that fought to save him, (Marcia Gay Harden, Colin Hanks, Zac Efron) CIA employees in Washington trying to make sense of what's happening (Ron Livingston, David Harbour) Abraham Zapruder, (Paul Giamatti) a photographer who caught the shooting on film. Local government employees in Dallas (Billy Bob Thorton, Paul Sparks) and the shooter's brother, Robert Oswald. (James Badge Dale) Tom Welling, Jacki Weaver, Mark Duplass and Jackie Earl Haley also have small parts.
They have a great, extensive cast, but this film doesn't seem to know what it wants to be, so it can't really devote a lot of meaty material to its actors. It doesn't wade into conspiracy territory completely, though it does show Ron Livingston's character getting very shady. It also tries a bit too hard with its camera trickery. For instance, Jackie Kennedy is in several shots at the beginning, but the director goes to painstaking lengths not to focus on her face for long. The back of her head, her hands, arms, anything but her face. Then there's the pivotal moment our characters see Zapruder's footage for the first time. They chose to show it as a reflection from Zapruder's eye glasses instead of actually showing the footage. (Though we've all probably seen it any how)
The film is very engaging and intense to start, but when it ends, it feels unfinished. Like there was more to say, and they didn't know where to stop. While I liked parts of this very much, overall, it just didn't seem to come together.
Recommended: Yes/No. Not the greatest film, but a decent enough watch.
Memorable quote: "This might be the biggest fuck up in the history of US law enforcement." - Gordon Shanklin (David Harbour)