Leon van Nierop
1 minute read
25 Apr 2014
6:00 am

Parkland: Clinical execution

Leon van Nierop

This is one of the most infamous and oft-told stories in American history: the assassination of President John F Kennedy in Dallas on November 22, 1963 – but it has ne-ver before been told from this perspective.

HORROR. Paul Giamatti plays a man who captures John F Kennedy's assassination on camera in 'Parkland'. Picture: Supplied.

Director Peter Landesman focuses on Parkland Hospital, where the president was brought after being shot – and mostly examines the effect it had on the hospital staff, while also trying to shed some new light on the drama behind the scenes in the Oswald family. (Lee Harvey Oswald was arrested as the possible shooter shortly after the assassination).

Marcia Gay Harden, as nurse Doris Nelson (in charge that fateful day), Paul Giamatti as the hapless man who had his camera focused on the president when he was shot, and Jacki Weaver as Lee Harvey Oswald’s eccentric mother, give powerhouse performances – splendid examples of understatement and gripping characterisation. Even the pretty, self-conscious heart-throb Zac Efron puts considerable effort into his portrayal of the doctor who attended to Kennedy.

This is a film that probably won’t do huge business on circuit, but those who are interested in a different take on the horrifying events may be riveted throughout this carefully structured and absorbing film.

It is well-executed, gripping and unsettling.