Movies based on history can sometimes be lackluster, but “Parkland” incorporates a historical event with masterful storytelling.
“Parkland” is the story of the assassination of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963. The movie’s namesake is a nod to the Dallas Parkland Memorial Hospital at which efforts to save both JFK and Lee Harvey Oswald proved futile. The plot line follows the events of the shooting and the days that followed, and weaves together different perspectives from that fateful day that forever altered America.
Paul Giamatti plays the role of Abraham Zapruder, who famously recorded the entire assassination on video. “Parkland” also follows the story of Forrest Sorrels (Billy Bob Thorton) as he tries to uncover the truth about what really happened, as well as track down Zapruder’s recording.
The movie also incorporates the points of view of Dr. Charles Carrico (Zac Efron), the first physician at Parkland Memorial Hospital to examine President Kennedy, and Roy Kellerman (Tom Welling), a secret service agent. The story told through the eyes of each of these characters really makes the audience feel as if they are living through this dark day in American history.
The film also displays the perspective of the Oswald family, with a focus on Lee’s brother, Robert (James Badge Dale), and the struggle and tarnished name that Lee leaves behind him.
The film effectively utilizes these different characters to turn this American tragedy into a personal and emotional gripping tale of the unsung heroes of that day: Zapruder, Carrico, and Sorrels.
The film plays in a documentary-like style, utilizing close up shots and actual footage from the Kennedy assassination. Director and screenwriter, Peter Landesman creates a seamless, flowing story that balances the different points of view and vividly paints a picture of the events that occurred during the assassination, as well as the crucial events that followed.
“Parkland” is a fantastic movie that tells a widely-known story, in a way that not many people may expect. Focusing on the aftermath of the Kennedy assassination, as opposed to the assassination itself, really makes this a great and entertaining movie.
Reach the reporter at Alexa.Dangelo@asu.edu or follow her on Twitter at @alexa_dangelo