Review In A Nutshell:
Parkland is about three stories that are connected to the Kennedy assassination.
The film's plot definitely sounds interesting, as it allows the audience to gain a better insight into the day of the murder, showing us the other players involved in the horrible event and how it has affected them. I am not an expert on the Kennedy assassination, but I also am not an ignorant; I know the key players involved in the event and I have a rough idea on what happened to the president but I do lack the understanding and knowledge of how it has impacted the nation. So in watching this, I wanted to learn more, I wanted the film to show me something that I don't already know. In a way that is what I got, it definitely showed me perspectives of the story that I have yet seen or read about, but it was executed in such a poor way. The film's three stories were injected with such high levels of melodrama that all of its objective qualities have been smeared and blurred; director Peter Landesman instead placed all of its power on the film's "emotions". This approach would have been better if he was handling a fictitious story, as that way we are able to come into the film with a clearer mindset. The film is filled with so much cringe worthy dialogue that I found it difficult to care for whatever it is that is happening in the film. Landesman clearly wants us to care about its characters, but how can we when he doesn't even give us anything more than what is already clear on the surface. The only story where I feel Landesman has succeeded in keeping me engaged and caring for the characters is Abraham Zapruder's story about the video he captured of the assassination, because the film was able to go beyond of the story's objective, it was able to explore the emotions of the character, showing us how this event has changed his life forever.
The film features a documentary style of photography, utilising the hand held style in order to have its audience transported to the day of the event, like as if we are seeing these stories first hand. Sometimes this method worked for me, other times it didn't. When it did work, tension was elevated and emotional moments hit right on the mark. When they don't, it highlights the film's faults which make it difficult for me to give the film the slightest bit of care. The film's score was, like the photography, so-so. There are moments where it comes off effective, while other moments it simply comes off as manipulative and tiresome.
The film features a number of great actors that delivered forgettable performances, and it is such a shame because I truly thought this was going to at least win me over in the film's acting department. The only actor in this film that stood out and maintained throughout an effective performance is Paul Giamatti as he was able to transmit that pain and heartbreak that a human would have felt during that event. Everyone in this film that tries to do this, instead came off as frustrating as just because you shed a tear doesn't necessarily mean it makes your performance better. Zac Efron was severely miscast in this film, his face is way too youthful to be appropriate for the role; I think if he was instead replaced by Tom Welling, who played one of the agents, then it would have been more convincing.
Parkland tries to show or tell us something new but fails to have us care for any of it due to its intense focus on amplifying its emotions. I suggest skipping this as it most likely won't change or add to anyone's perspective of the event.