JFK

Oliver Stone directs this story of the search for truth in the years following the assassination of John F Kennedy. It follows New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison (Kevin Costner) who sees holes in the official account and risks everything in his attempt to find out what really happened.

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The film”s strength is the boldness in the allegations it makes – quite surprising in some places. I had to keep reminding myself that a film is not necessarily the best source of knowledge about actual historical events. It benefits from strong performances from its stellar cast, including Costner, Gary Oldman and Jack Lemmon.

It’s of a similar ilk to All the President’s Men and Spotlight, since they all feature a rigorous investigatory team battling to find the truth. But it’s also the worst of these three films. As testimonies are given we’re shown the accounts onscreen, which aids our understanding. But the way it’s done often results in confusing sensory overload.

Further, the unnecessary and  unconvincing family melodrama betrays the decade in which it was made. The investigation alone provides more than enough material to fill the film, which could actually do with being slightly shorter.

By the nature of real events, it leaves many questions unanswered, although some of these may soon be answered. The remaining documentation relating to the case is due for release later this month.

I suspect this won’t provide a categorical answer one way or the other. If there was a conspiracy presumably any direct evidence of it would have been destroyed at the time. But it will be interesting to see if the official account given at the time is as at odds with eyewitness testimonies, as this film suggests.

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