Parkland (15) 93 mins
Starring Zac Efron, Paul Giamatti and Billy Bob Thornton
A recounting of the chaotic events that occurred at Dallas’ Parkland Hospital on the day U.S. President John F. Kennedy was assassinated.
Parkland makes the tally of President films for 2013 at least up to a three, however, you may let out a sigh of relief, as this time it did not involve any terrorists trying to take over the White House. Parkland is the re-telling of the story of the assassination of John F Kennedy from the point of view of several different individuals. I believe that if any film is based on true events it puts a lot of weight behind the film as it immediately makes the story that bit more identifiable with the audiences. However, with Parkland because it was the re-telling of a historical event rather than an unknown true story I did wonder how entertaining it could be, as I had a good idea of what the story would entail. Thankfully this was not an issue and I was thoroughly entertained throughout.
What Parkland does so wonderfully is this, it takes this historical event and shows the effects that it had on a personal level for so many people, I didn’t expect to see this and this is what made it so intriguing to watch. This made up for knowing so much of the story already, however, as I say that, I must also admit that I learnt a great deal from the film and I enjoyed myself in the process.
There was a theme running throughout the picture of how negative implications came to light due to this tragedy for people who had done nothing wrong, it was fascinating to see how they and the other characters around them interpreted these circumstances and reacted to the situation. Furthermore, as the events unfolded there was often a question of morality and on several occasions I found myself asking who was in the right and how people are treated differently. Films that can create this sense of uncertainly in the viewer should be praised and it allows film to become interactive instead of a simply watching a story.
Zac Efron plays a young doctor called Charles ‘Jim’ Carrico and his performance is brilliant, I wasn’t necessarily expecting this from Efron but I was impressed, and not once did I think he was going to spontaneously burst into song!
Carrico has a lot to deal with in the film and it was this character that I found the most interesting, however, I felt that the effects of this tragedy that he felt personally should have been explored more. The film’s running time is only 93 minutes so it would have been easy to devote one or two extra scenes to Carrico as I think this would have made more of an impact on the viewer but what was delivered here was fantastic in the first place, I was just left wanting a little more.
Some of the most effective scenes in the film took place in the hospital (Parkland). These scenes were brutally realistic, particularly with the use of sound rather than just visuals. These scenes provided much tension and emotion and it was here that I was probably most engrossed in the film. Carrico was only one of the characters in Parkland who I found compelling to watch, the particular individuals that were chosen all brought something different to the film and I felt that the right amount were included to offer a variety of interpretations and reactions also meaning that the viewer didn’t get bored with a focus on fewer characters. The inclusion of these characters also made up for a possible lack of plot due to the almost documentary style that Parkland has been presented in.
Parkland was widely more entertaining than I had ever imagined it would be, I am sure that history buffs will enjoy this picture. However because of the focus on personal accounts Parkland has become accessible to a wider range in terms of its audience and I would highly recommend this film to all.