Top 10s


Movie Review JFK
 December 4, 2003
Grade:  A+
Director:  Oliver Stone Released:  December 1991
Writer:  Oliver Stone & Zachary Sklar from books by Jim Garrison & Jim Marrs MPAA Rating:  R
Players:  Kevin Costner, Tommy Lee Jones, Joe Pesci, Gary Oldman, Kevin Bacon, Jack Lemmon, Michael Rooker, Laurie Metcalf, Jay O. Sanders, Sissy Spacek, Donald Sutherland, John Candy Running time:  189 minutes
Ratings Methodology


As it was for many people, JFK was an eye-opening film for me.  I didn't know much about the Kennedy assassination, had never heard of the Warren commission, didn't know who Jim Garrison was, never laid eyes on the Zapruder film, and was not familiar with any of the conspiracy theories.  With that said, you can imagine how I was feeling after seeing this picture.  I felt like whole new worlds had opened up, whole new perspectives about our government.  And whole new ideas about filmmaking.

I won't get into the details of the conspiracy, because there is so much conflicting evidence and opinion, I don't know what to believe anymore.  You can go to any bookstore and pick up books that are equally compelling in their logic that argue both sides of the conspiracy.  In context of this film, the accuracy of the information doesn't matter anyway.  JFK does not claim to be a documentary even though it feels like one.

As I mentioned, I didn't know anything about the topic when I first saw this picture in 1992; after my viewing I was convinced that this conspiracy was the truth, that's how persuasive and powerful this film is.  No matter what you believe to be true, you simply cannot deny the power and the passion of this film and its ability to stir emotions.

JFK won the Academy Award for best editing, and to me, it is the gold standard for film editing.  The technique combines flashbacks, flash forwards, recreation of events, voiceover, still pictures, and historical documentary footage; seamlessly with no viewer confusion.  The editing style is aggressive and unique, I love the way this film tells its' story.  Hats off to Joe Hutshing and Pietro Scalia.  The cinematography works hand-in-hand with the editing, it's a mish-mash of mediums: black and white, color, grainy, video, 8mm film, still pictures.  Hats off to Robert Richardson for his Academy award win.

The score is also impressive with its urgent military drums, instantly recognizable.  Hats off to John Williams too, who was nominated for an Academy award.  And finally, hats off to Oliver Stone, who managed to bring a tremendous amount of information and characters and film techniques together to make this unforgettable movie.

Just remember, JFK is not a documentary.  It is not truth, nor proof of a conspiracy.  It is speculation.  Speculation based on facts that are often in question.  It's not just the content of the film that makes it great, it's the film's ability to grab hold of the viewer's spine and shake it around a little.  It's the masterful technical skills of all involved: director, editor, cinematographer, composer, actors, writers, producers.  And it's a damn fine film-going experience.

- crocoPuffs


The rewatchability factor of this film is through the roof.


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