JFK Movie Review

I get a lot of flack for proclaiming JFK as one of my favorite films ever, but I'm sticking by it. Sure it's long and includes some dubious conjecture, but JFK is one powerful movie, even if you don't believe a word of it in the end. And it's hard to find nothing in the film which you can grab on to.

So give it a chance. November 22, 2003 marks the 40th anniversary of the death of John F. Kennedy, and there's no better way to look back than with a screening of Oliver Stone's thoughtful and exhaustive study of Jim Garrison's (Kevin Costner) investigation into the president's assassination. Stone's masterpiece has now been reissued on DVD in Stone's director's cut, with 17 minutes of restored footage that Camelot enthusiasts should find rewarding -- the same version as the previous DVD release. (Included among the restored scenes is a long passage about George DeMohrenschildt, a Nazi sympathizer who befriended Lee Harvey Oswald (Gary Oldman) and later betrayed him to the Warren Commission. There's more about Bill Broussard's (Michael Rooker) defection, and a scene of Garrison later being accosted in an airport. Extra witnesses are paraded through the final courtroom scene, and, most peculiarly, there's a restored sequence of Garrison's appearance on the gaudy The Jerry Johnson Show, with John Larroquette as the smarmy host.)

There's also a new second disc of material, including the documentary Beyond JFK: The Question of Conspiracy, even more of Stone's deleted and extened scenes, and some updated multimedia about the assassination (notably some recently declassified documents) and some info about "Mr. X" (played by Donald Sutherland in the film) -- revealed to be military man Fletcher Prouty. Stone's commentary to the feature film is so exhaustive and full of data it reaches the point of being dizzying.

Presented in 2.35:1 widescreen and with full Dolby Digital sound, the DVD edition of JFK holds dozens of new secrets waiting to be discovered. The Zapruder film is much more vivid here than on videotape, and when those shots ring out, they echo through the room, a haunting memory of what's gone before. Still, at a running time of 206 minutes, this special edition of JFK may not be for everyone. But at least you don't have to rewind.


JFK Rating

" Essential "

Rating: R, 1991


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