Film Review – Parkland (2013)


Title – Parkland (2013)

Director – Peter Landesman

Cast – Paul Giamatti, Zac Efron, James Badge Dale, Billy Bob Thornton, Ron Livingston, Tom Welling, Marcia Gay Harden, Colin Hanks, Jacki Weaver

Plot – Based on Vincent Bugliosi’s book Parkland looks at the day and preceding days of JFK’s fateful trip to Dallas Texas in 1963. The movie looks at participants including Doctor Charles Carrico (Efron), brother to the suspect Robert Oswald (Badge Dale), hardworking businessman Abraham Zapruder (Giamatti) and a raft of others whose lives were changed with one bullet.

“The president is coming with us”

Review by Eddie on 27/11/2013

It’s not hard to see why this star studded vehicle set around the JFK assassination came and disappeared from theatre’s faster than you could say “waste of talent” for Parkland is a disjointed mess of a movie that at every turn fails to encapsulate what really should be a captivating and insightful look into a dark day and subsequent period of American history.

To pinpoint a major failing in Parkland one must look squarely at the direction of former controversial journalist Peter Landesman who films the movie in the Paul Greengrass school of direction technique with fast swift cuts, quick zooms and shaky cam galore but what works so well for someone like a Greengrass here merely comes off as obtrusive to the story and amateurish giving Parkland an almost student made feel. This low level production feel acts as a way to completely waste the talent on camera also.

Not once in the films short 90 minute time does a character get a chance to really make an impression with only James Badge Dale as Robert Oswald and Paul Giamatti as Abraham Zapruder seemingly getting more than 10 minutes screen time. Actors such as Zac Efron, Tom Welling, Billy Bob Thornton, Marcia Gay Harden, Ron Livingston and most short changed of all Jackie Earl Haley barely seem to breathe before their characters are seemingly gone in a puff of smoke. With no centralised figure to hold things together any emotional pull that Parkland should have had with such a tale is completely non-existent and the films big set pieces fall flat because of the same reason.

Somewhere deep down at the core of Parkland is a good movie waiting to be exposed. There are small scenes throughout the movie that seemingly show off what could have been such as Robert’s confrontation with his brother in custody or the hospital scene featuring frantic efforts to keep JFK alive. As a whole however Parkland is a huge missed opportunity and a mishandling of a story that deserves to be told in a much more professional manor.

2 wasted actors out of 5

18 responses to “Film Review – Parkland (2013)

  1. The issue I thought was that the story and script were so inherently American that the rest of the world including me, didn’t quite get what the hoopla was all about. Yes, while I know that JFK was popular beyond imagination, the fact that he was assassinated in full public view was shocking and all that, but for whatever reason this movie didn’t quite seem to capture all that well. Have to agree with you when you say that the Paul Greengrass style was tried to be replicated here without the same end results. A botched attempt at what could have been a decent movie I guess.

  2. i really wanted to see this when i saw the trailer (giamatti looks like he was born to play zapruder) but now after reading this i’m not so sure. it sounds like a mess. shame.

    • I was the same Niall, looked and sounded like it was going to be ace with some real intriguing casting but just a messy film. Worth checking out for curiosity’s sake I would say.

  3. Aw shucks. I still looked forward to this despite a few waves of negative reviews, but this I can’t ignore. Sounds like I’d be better off just avoiding it. Thanks for the heads-up dude!

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