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movie reviewmovie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: JFK

Starring: Kevin Costner, Sissy Spacek
Director: Oliver Stone
Rated: R
RunTime: 189 Minutes
Release Date: December 1991
Genres: Drama, Suspense

Reviewer Roundup
1.  Walter Frith review follows ---
2.  Steve Rhodes read the review movie reviewmovie reviewvideo review

Review by Walter Frith
No Rating Supplied

If anything, Oliver Stone's 1991 pseudo propaganda film 'JFK' certainly infuriated many who believed that Stone had no right to mix together film clips of authenticity with his own injection of the truth. Outraged media jackals still draw references to Stone and this film when making a point, mostly to complain about the inaccuracies of a certain scenario. It just so happens that I admire Stone for his complex and PROVEN statement that a conspiracy took place in the murder of John F. Kennedy.

Because of the shocking nature of the assassination, a quick rush to judgment, called the Warren Commission, tried to calm America's fears of a government over throw and blamed everything on a half baked ex-Marine using a rifle with a faulty scope. Like most important fragments of historical documentation, they sometimes aren't recognized for what they are at the time of their occurrence until years later when the whole mix has time to settle and the public ranks it in order of importance. Most surveyed at the time 'JFK' came out, believed that the Warren Commission's findings were severely flawed. A much different opinion in contrast to the first release of the report in 1964.

I'm not about to go over the entire process of re-creating the assassination scenario but over 80% of people surveyed believe there was a conspiracy. Where Stone makes a mistake in his film is in the outright declaration of multiple government forces strung together to kill the president. Certainly, it is a good theory that some body of government probably had a hand at bringing down Kennedy's presidency but Stone should have pin pointed one theory instead of speculating on many different organizations. Television's 'The X-Files makes assumptions that a government conspiracy is on its way to changing the outright lifestyle of America's (and perhaps the world's) civilization, but the show only portrays dark figures in the commission of these crimes and points the finger directly at no one. A smart style of presentation. In fairness, Stone does point out that Kennedy was killed because he would have withdrawn troops from Vietnam and eventually the profitable war machine would have slowed down and the war never would have taken place. A good theory but as debatable as any other to come along.

The film opens with a startling mix of edited clips from documented history which have a narrative added to them and the moments leading up to the assassination are pin pointed. Word of this reaches New Orleans district attorney Jim Garrison (Kevin Costner) who witnesses the breaking news of it all on television along with a colleague and the weekend that follows is as crazy to everyone in the D.A.'s office as the entire staff witnesses on television the murder of JFK's accused assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald (Gary Oldman). Things settle down but Garrison is strangely drawn back into the investigation of the presidents death three years later, in 1966.

Throughout the course of the investigation which wraps up after a trial in 1969, when Garrison unsuccessfully prosecuted an internationally known businessman named Clay Shaw (Tommy Lee Jones), 'JFK' movies like a high tech thriller which combines the most gripping photography and impressive editing ever seen in motion pictures. Both the editing and camera work were awarded well deserved Oscars.

Oliver Stone's "in your face" style of film presentation is done with the most multi-media like tools. Using echoed and sharp sound effects, black and white photography, slow motion and many other mixes of film enhancement, Stone certainly holds nothing back and those who criticized the film as fiction only did more to enhance the film's appeal in making people want to see it.

'JFK' answers no serious questions for most who were around at the time of the assassination, but the film raises some very interesting points and although Oliver Stone's career has been sagging somewhat since it came out, at least Stone's protest against the alleged cover-up that took place in 1963 is a testament to one man's courage using the world's most emotional medium.

Copyright 1996 Walter Frith

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