Coming to theatres this Friday from director Peter Landesman and Playtone comes another look at a dark day in U.S. history with the events at PARKLAND.

This film tells the story of the day John F. Kennedy was assassinated. As the President arrives in Dallas, it is also a day where many people are excited and many others still doing their jobs.

Jim Carrico (Zac Efron) is a doctor at Parkland hospital starting out his day working along side nurse Doris Nelson (Marcia Gay Harden). For Abraham Zapruder (Paul Giamatti) it is a day to be remembered as he happily tells everyone to go and watch for the President! Taking along his camera he perches himself up high to capture the presidential visit.

As the President turns the corner, Zapruder hears the shots ring out but what he sees in the lens of the camera will change his life forever. Quickly chaos ensues as security races the President to Parkland Hospital.

It is here that Carrico and Nurse Nelson are shocked at who their emergency patient is. They are quickly joined by Dr. Malcom Perry (Colin Hanks) as they try to save the President from his wounds.

The Secret Service jumps into action as Roy Kellerman (Tom Welling) does what he must to see the President home as James Hosty (Ron Livingston) hears the name Lee Harvey Oswald and shares what he knows. It is Forrest Sorrels (Billy Bob Thorton) who learns of the Zapruder film and tries, without fail, to take custody of the footage.

While Oswald (Jeremy Strong) is in jail, his brother Robert (James Badge Dale) confronts his brother. Dealing with crazed mother Marguerite (Jacki Weaver) and her ravings of conspiracy against Lee, it is Robert who holds the family together.

It is a day like no other and a story that has never been told!

FINAL WORD: Efron as Carrico is the first character we see in PARKLAND. A young fresh-faced doctor this certainly couldn’t have ever been what he expected. There are moments of pure terror in this character that quickly turn to indescribable grief. Along with Hanks as Dr. Perry they worked seamlessly together in a performance that seemed all too real.

Giamatti as Zapruder gives a remarkable performance of a man who quickly realizes what he has captured on film. Not about to let it go to just anyone, including Thorton’s character Sorrels, Giamatti plays it stoically but also with a quiet reverence that is gripping and sad.

Thorton as Sorrels keeps his eye on the ball as it were and wants no mistakes. Thorton has a commanding presence when he wants to and here it shows. Livingston as Hosty portrays a man who must make one of the most crucial decisions ever that would later be an important piece in Oswald’s history of events.

Some of the most amazing performances come from Dale as Robert Oswald and Weaver as Marguerite Oswald. Weaver is a slightly cracked woman who believes her son has been set up by the government. She rants to anyone that will listen what she ‘thinks’ she knows. The only thing to stop her at times is Robert.

Dale as Robert is just a stunning character. Here is a man whose life has changed by the mere mention of the name Oswald. With a family of his own he handles Lee, his death and a life there after with such grace. In the burial scene I was in tears for him because there is always a ripple effect that hit the innocent.

Other cast include: Jackie Earle Haley as Father Oscar Huber, Bitsie Tulloch as Marilyn Sitzman, Mark Duplass, Gil Bellows, David Harbour, Paul Sparks as Harry McCormick, Matt Barr as Paul Mikkelson, Glen Morshowe as Mike Howard, Bryan Batt as Kilduff, Jonathan Breck as Winston Lawson, Gary Grubbs as Dr. Kemp Clark, Drew Waters as Col. Swindal, Jason Douglas as Kenny Howe, Chris Freihofer as Phil Chamberlain and Brett Stimely as President John F. Kennedy.

TUBS OF POPCORN: I give PARKLAND four tubs of popcorn out of five. I have always been interested in the life and death of John F. Kennedy. I’ve read many books and written a few papers in my school days but nothing prepared me for this. There is no doubt this is a book I need to read because something tells me there is so much more to know.

Director Landesman is also the scriptwriter based on the book FOUR DAYS IN NOVEMBER by Vincent Bugliosi. Presented with the book by Tom Hanks, Landesman realized this was a project he needed to do.

In the end – it was a day of heroes when one had fallen!



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Jeri Jacquin

Jeri Jacquin covers film, television, DVD/Bluray releases, celebrity interviews, festivals and all things entertainment.

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