TIFF 2013 Review: Parkland
Peter Landesman’s Parkland just flies by in a whir – there are but maybe five minutes where you can catch your breath. The major event the film chronicles – the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963 – may be a familiar one, but it’s the smaller stories and digressions told in tandem, with paramount tension, that makes this directorial debut a fascinating one.
The 93-minute, star-laden film is apolitical, instead seeking a humanistic touch. Parkland is the name of the hospital JFK arrived following the shot, and while some knew the inevitable, those on hand, played by Zac Efron, Marcia Gay Harden, and Colin Hanks among others, tried desperately to save him.
When Lee Harvey Oswald, the man assumed to have killed the President, arrives the next day having been shot himself, there is a faint hesitation in the air and different tone as the crew works once again with a victim – but hardly the same one.
It’s that moment and the many in between that are intriguing. We follow FBI investigators who may have severely blown their job, the man (Paul Giamatti) who would film the shooting and endured subsequent trauma, and Oswald’s maligned brother played with great humanity by James Badge Dale.
Parkland lingers long enough on all its characters to catch the emotional effects of the death. Some of it is more earnest than others, and while the film doesn’t have much to say, it’s a fascinating capture of a few unforgettable days in Texas.
Friday September 6 – Roy Thomson Hall – 9:30 PM
Sunday September 8 – Winter Garden Theatre – 12:30 PM