Parkland Blu-ray Review

  • Actors: Zac Efron, Marcia Gay Harden, Paul Giamatti, Billy Bob Thornton, Jacki Weaver
  • Directors: Peter Landesman
  • Format: Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Studio: Millennium
  • Release Date: November 5, 2013
  • Run Time: 87 minutes



            I was left with something of a bad taste in my mouth when I realized that the release of Parkland, Peter Landesman’s film about the events following the assassination of John F. Kennedy, happens to coincide with the 50th Anniversary of the tragic day. The Blu-ray release of this new film is perfectly set up for release in November, the month our departed president took that fateful trip to Texas, as is a Blu-ray special edition release of Oliver Stone’s JFK. I can't commend their ability to cash in on an anniversary to sell more copies of films about a tragedy, though I suppose it doesn't make much difference after half a century.


            Landesman takes an approach which could not be much different from Stone’s, making no effort to find any hidden truths about the events of the day, nor make any statements of any significance. The tragedy is diminished to pure melodrama, albeit with characters taken from real events. However accurate, one must wonder what the point of this film is beyond forcing the moment of anguish upon those who weren’t alive to experience it themselves.


            The title of the film comes from the name of the hospital that both Kennedy and his alleged assassin were taken to for treatment, lthough this only takes up about half of the screen time. The ensemble cast is made up of the everyday characters from the day’s events, and some of these include the doctors and nurses (Zac Efron, Marcia Gay Harden, Colin Hanks) who had the difficult task of working those days. There is also a storyline following the man who shot the infamous footage of the events (Paul Giamatti) and the law enforcement officer who helped him get the footage developed (Billy Bob Thornton). We also follow the corpse of Kennedy as it has the difficult journey home on Air Force One, and the family members of the man accused of killing him as they are questioned. 


            There are moments of great acting within this entirely unnecessary narrative, making this a film dependent on the viewer’s willingness to over-indulge in melodrama. Even those who find the events fascinating will find little new in terms of information, however accurately Parkland attempts to capture the emotional impact of the national tragedy.


            The special features include a commentary track, as well as deleted scenes.


    Entertainment Value: 6/10

    Quality of Filmmaking: 7.5/10

    Historical Significance: 4/10

    Disc Features: 7/10



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