Zac Efron's 'Parkland,' A Drama or Documentary?

'Parkland' is an upcoming American drama film that attempts to recount the tragedy that occurred in Dallas, Texas on November 22nd 1963, the day in which President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. The film in based on the novel Four Days in November (2008, Vincent Bugliosi) and follows the lives of ordinary individuals who are greatly affected by the days following the assassination.

Paul GiamattiPaul Giamatti in the JFK movie 'Parkland'

A diverse cast that includes the likes of Zac Efron, Billy Bob Thornton and Paul Giamatti try to achieve an accurate retelling of the days that followed the assassination of JFK by showing multiple narratives though out the film which mainly takes place at Parklands Hospital - where JFK was taken after the shooting. 

Former journalist and director Peter Landesman tries to illustrate the chaos and panic that followed the tragedy as he explains at a post-screening press conference. "What we never really thought about was disorientation and the power and the chaos and the anarchy of what it was to seriously survive the assassination and that entire weekend," he was quoted by Reuters as saying.

The film premiered at the 70th Venice International Film Festival to a debatable response as Robbie Collins of The Telegraph suggests "it plays less like a memorial project than a ghoulish and vapid re-enactment". He further comments that the cast lacks depth and direction "most of their roles are barely defined: Zac Efron appears as Handsome Doctor, Marcia Gay Harden as Anxious Nurse With Crucifix, Billy Bob Thornton as Secret Service Agent Who Says "This Was Not Supposed To Happen" A Lot, and so on". 

Watch the Parkland trailer:

This view is echoed by Geoffrey Macnab of The Independent who questioned the films plot as he states "Unfortunately, Parkland doesn't work as a drama. Landesman offers us a sophisticated and meticulously detailed historical reconstruction that, as storytelling, remains disappointingly inert." 

The director, Peter Landesman triumphantly achieves an accurate re-enactment of the events following the assassination but he eludes a developed story therefore lacking a connection and attachment between the characters and audience. 

Parkland hits theaters on October 4, 2013.

Zac EfronZac Efron In 'Parkland'


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Tags: Zac Efron - Billy Bob Thornton - Paul Giamatti

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