JFK (1991)

One of the greatest films ever made, this is sensational, complex and absolutely rivetting filmmaking by Oliver Stone about one of the most shocking American events of the 20th century and the fascinating conspiracy theories behind it.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Review #261

Dir. Oliver Stone
1991 | USA | Drama/History/Thriller | 206 mins | 2.39:1 | English & Spanish
NC16 (passed clean) for language

Cast: Kevin Costner, Gary Oldman, Jack Lemmon
Plot: New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison discovers there’s more to the Kennedy assassination than the official story.
Awards: Won 2 Oscars – Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing. Nom. for 6 Oscars – Best Picture, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Original Score, Best Sound

Distributor: Warner Bros

Accessibility Index
Subject Matter: Moderate – Conspiracy, History, Truth, Politics
Narrative Style: Complex
Pace: Normal
Audience Type: Slightly Mainstream

Viewed: DVD
First Published: 18 Feb 2008
Spoilers: No

In my opinion, JFK is one of the greatest films ever made.  There’s little reason to believe Oliver Stone will ever surpass what he has accomplished here.  

The film runs for more than three hours, yet with the overwhelming amount of content and the humongous scope of the plot, it’s unbelievable that Stone managed to complete the production of the film within two years. 

He expertly explains and explores the conspiracies that surround the assassination of President Kennedy back in the 1960s through spellbinding color and black-and-white images, and the recreation of the chain of sequences that lead to the assassination and its convoluted aftermath.

Was he murdered by the lone shooter Lee Harvey Oswald?  Or were there others involved?  Did the US military, FBI, CIA conspire to kill their own President?  What about the ‘magic bullet’ theory?  Where was the Zapruder film kept?Was there a massive cover-up by the highest authorities of the American government, including its judiciary system? 

“Let justice be done though the heavens fall.”

These are all aptly dissected in the film, providing crucial insights, and occasionally leaving more questions unanswered, challenging viewers to think and respond.  

Effective individual performances from A-listers like Kevin Costner, Tommy Lee Jones, Joe Pesci, Gary Oldman, Kevin Bacon, and Donald Sutherland combine flawlessly, resulting in one of the most extensive and well-assembled cast in American cinema. 

It is also possibly one of the contenders for the best edited film of all-time.  The manner in which Stone filmed JFK through the use of disturbing flashback images, rapid-fire editing, and intertwining it with the suspenseful pulsating rhythms of composer John Williams, and knowing it’s all based on a terribly true event makes it one of the most chilling movie experiences ever. 

Grade: A+  




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