Peter Landesman writes and directs Parkland, a film depicting a pastiche of events following the Kennedy assassination. Lee Harvey Oswald’s family, the doctors in the trauma unit, the Secret Service guys and Abraham Zapruder all get screen time in this sometimes-interesting but somewhat scattered drama.
Paul Giamatti is the film’s best asset as Zapruder, a Kennedy enthusiast who is super-excited about the presidential visit and his chance to catch the event on his new film camera. Not nearly as interesting is Zac Efron as the doctor who worked on the dying Kennedy, and Marcia Gay Harden as a nurse.
Billy Bob Thornton scowls a lot as a confused security agent, while Jacki Weaver is irritating as Oswald’s mom. Oswald, played by Jeremy Strong, is reduced to little more than a cameo.
Had Landesman chosen to focus on fewer characters, this might’ve worked. As it stands, there’s too much going on. A true cinematic effort about Oswald, his family and the devastation that followed the assassination would make for an interesting picture. Perhaps somebody will make that movie in the future.
Special Features: You get a director’s commentary and some wisely deleted scenes.