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Drama - US

JFK (1991)

Duration3h 9m
RatingsUK: 15, USA: R, Spain: 13 
Source of storyBooks; On the Trail of the Assassins by Jim Garrison, Crossfire, The plot that Killed Kennedy by Jim Marrs.
DirectorOliver Stone
Writers/ScriptOliver Stone
StarringKevin Costner, Edward Asner, Jack Lemmon, Vincent D’Onofrio, Gary Oldman, Sissy Spacek, Laurie Metcalf, Joe Pesci, Walter Matthau, Tommy Lee Jones, John Candy, Kevin Bacon, Donald Sutherland,   
RatingsIMDb: 8/10 by 152,667 people.  Rotten Tomatoes: 84% by 64 reviewers. Review2view: 7/10.

Elevator Pitch: Jim Garrison is the New Orleans DA. He has doubts about the results of the Warren Report into the assassination of John Kennedy and so with a small team begins to investigate the surrounding events, sometimes getting his suspicions confirmed by mysterious people. There appears to be a body of information suggesting that there were a number of shooters including the one on the grassy knoll. His investigation is hampered by the assassination of Harvey Oswald by Jack Ruby. Amid the mass of information and witness statements he begins to focus on the activities of openly homosexual Clay Shaw, and eventually prosecutes him for him involvement in the assassination. 

Content: No sex, but I think there is a bit of pole dancing. Some dinking and a lot of smoking, one or two of the characters constantly lighting up, some surprisingly in quite formal situations. Much of the film consists of Garrison interviewing people and as they answer an associated bit of film is shown, some of it genuine newsreel I think, other stuff reconstructions. Garrison’s family life begins to fall to pieces due to his obsession. The actual shooting is shown, and disconcertingly some scenes in the autopsy of the president, which are quite unpleasant.

A View: This film is typical Oliver Stone,  extremely long and earnest, and as we get towards then end it seems that Garrison must be right about the conspiracy. But many commentators consider that the conclusions of the film are complete rubbish. But actually I don’t have much doubt that it could have been thirty minutes shorter without losing any of its impact. Those of us who are old remember where we were when the president was shot. If you are too young, still worth a watch.

Three other alarming Oliver Stone outings reviewed on this site: U-Turn, Platoon, Scarface.

About Victor R Gibson

Author of this site three technical books and two novels


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