Film: JFK

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Film:

JFK

Director: Oliver Stone
Honors:
Genres:
Distributor: Warner Home Video

Not a John F Kennedy biopic, but a film of New Orleans’ attorney Jim Garrison’s investigation into the President’s assassination, JFK is that rarest of things, a modern Hollywood drama which credits the audience with serious intelligence and ultimately proves itself a great film. Oliver Stone’s film has the archetypal story, visual scale and substance to match; not just a gripping real-life conspiracy thriller, but a fable for the fall of the American dream (a theme further explored by the director in Nixon and Any Given Sunday). JFK

Reviews

Amazon.com

Not a John F Kennedy biopic, but a film of New Orleans’ attorney Jim Garrison’s investigation into the President’s assassination, JFK is that rarest of things, a modern Hollywood drama which credits the audience with serious intelligence and ultimately proves itself a great film. Oliver Stone’s film has the archetypal story, visual scale and substance to match; not just a gripping real-life conspiracy thriller, but a fable for the fall of the American dream (a theme further explored by the director in Nixon and Any Given Sunday). JFK doesn’t reveal exactly what happened in Dallas on 22 November 1963—those who knew generally took their secrets to the grave—but marshals a vast wealth of facts and plausible theories, trusting the audience to draw its own conclusions. Following less than a year after Dances With Wolves (1990), these two epics mark the high point of Kevin Costner’s career and the vast supporting cast here, including Gary Oldman, Kevin Bacon, Sissy Spacek and Donald Sutherland, is superb. Quite simply the best American political film ever made. —Gary S Dalkin

Director Oliver Stone added 17 minutes of previously unseen footage for the “director’s cut” edition of his hypnotic courtroom epic about the investigation into the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in November 1963. That fateful day in Dallas set in motion a sequence of events that would only intensify the mystery behind Kennedy’s death, causing New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison (Kevin Costner) to begin an investigation that would gradually become a personal obsession. Bravura filmmaking combined with controversial treatment of historical facts and audacious speculation, this breathtaking revision of history presents a mesmerizing parade of shady figures and conspiracy theories, unfolding like a classic mystery based on history’s greatest unsolved crime. A technical triumph boasting Oscar-winning cinematography and editing, Stone’s film is guaranteed to grab the viewer’s attention with its daring take on the JFK controversy. The stellar supporting cast includes Tommy Lee Jones, Joe Pesci, Jack Lemmon, Donald Sutherland, Sissy Spacek, Kevin Bacon, and Gary Oldman as Lee Harvey Oswald. —Jeff Shannon

Barnes and Noble

Few films in recent decades have inspired as much controversy as Oliver Stone’s provocative 1991 drama concerning the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and the whirlwind investigations that followed it. Stone, whose obvious infatuation with Kennedy borders on blind hero-worship, makes real-life New Orleans district attorney Jim Garrison (played by Kevin Costner) the focal point of his three-hour epic. Garrison’s conviction that Kennedy’s murder was the product of a sinister government conspiracy became an obsession that eventually dominated his every waking hour, sullied his reputation, alienated his family and, finally, made him an object of ridicule. To Stone’s uncritical eyes, however, he’s a true-blue American hero, and the film reflects that bias. Crammed with historical detail—some of it of dubious accuracy—and peopled with such outstanding talents as Sissy Spacek (playing Garrison’s long-suffering wife), Tommy Lee Jones, Kevin Bacon, Donald Sutherland, Gary Oldman, Jack Lemmon, Walter Matthau, and Ed Asner, JFK crackles with energy and, despite its excessive length, never becomes boring. Is it the fever dream of an unreconstructed conspiracy theorist or a chillingly accurate portrayal of events the American people willingly swept under the national carpet? That’s up to you to decide. Stone makes his case in a running commentary for the DVD, which also includes previously deleted scenes that added another 15 minutes to the film’s running time. Ed Hulse

Related Works

Book:Crossfire

Crossfire: The Plot That Killed Kennedy

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Book:On the Trail of the Assassins

On the Trail of the Assassins

Jim Garrison

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