This November will mark the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963. Trying to craft its own narrative about this familiar period in American history is the film "Parkland." "Parkland" recounts the experiences of the staff at Parkland Hospital who treated both the president and his shooter, Abraham Zapruder, Robert Edward Lee Oswald, Jr., and several FBI/Secret Service agents.
The movie stars Paul Giamatti as Abraham Zapruder, James Badge Dale as Robert Edward Lee Oswald, Jr, Zac Efron as Dr. Charles James "Jim" Carrico,Colin Hanks as Dr. Malcolm O. Perry, Marcia Gay Harden as Head Nurse Doris Nelson,Jeremy Strong as Lee Harvey Oswald, Billy Bob Thornton as Secret Service Agent Forrest Sorrels,Jacki Weaver as Marguerite Oswald and Tom Welling as Secret Service Agent Roy Kellerman. Acting wise there is not one misstep in this impressive cast of historical characters. Giamatti, Dale, Weaver, and Welling (nearly unrecognizable from his "Smallville" days) are particular standouts here.
As a whole, "Parkland" will resonate with anyone who was alive back in 1963. Anyone born after that may wonder why this film, as it lacks any real focus or narrative, needed to be made. Furthermore, the movie is based on the book Four Days In November, by Vincent Bugliosi. In this regard, "Parkland" isn't really just about Parkland. It's not even about the hospital by a large margin. While, Hanks, Efron, and Gay Harden do the best with what they're given, the movie doesn't give their characters any real depth. Who were Doris Nelson, Dr. Perry, and Dr. Carrico? The film doesn't say but it does give exhaustive and fascinating back stories to Zapruder (the man who shot what became perhaps the most researched home movie in history) and Robert Edward Lee Oswald, Jr (the brother of JFK's shooter).
The film is well acted and provides an interesting history but ultimately fails to add anything new to an already overfilled topic. See it in Hartford here.