“Parkland”: JFK's Last Day, As Seen by the Little People

Parkland Peter Landesman's procedural dramatizes the events between the assassination of John F. Kennedy on Nov. 22, 1963, and his funeral on Nov. 25. The focus is on the staff of Dallas's Parkland Hospital, as well as the local FBI and Secret Service agents, all of whose lives were upended by the unthinkable. The assassination is well-trodden territory, and comparisons to Oliver Stone's JFK are inevitable, but Parkland is not a counter to Stone's self-described “counter-myth.” Landesman's picture neither supports nor rebukes any particular theory, nor do we see Lee Harvey Oswald (Jeremy Strong) or anyone else pulling the trigger. Instead, the movie sticks to the facts as they were known at the time, re-creating history while conveying the assassination's emotional impact on levels both personal and national. There's no obvious protagonist, and the cast is comprised mostly of character actors, including Paul Giamatti, James Badge Dale, Marcia Gay Harden, and Billy Bob Thornton as gruff Secret Service Agent Forrest Sorrels.

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