JFK (1991)

Genres - Thriller  |   Sub-Genres - Political Thriller, Paranoid Thriller  |   Release Date - Dec 20, 1991 (USA), Dec 27, 2002 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 188 min.  |   Countries - United States  |   MPAA Rating - R
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Review by Tracie Cooper

Despite criticism from historians and conspiracy buffs alike, Oliver Stone's docudrama JFK provides its audience with a highly controversial and thought-provoking depiction of the mysterious circumstances surrounding the assassination of America's 35th president. Centered around New Orleans district attorney Jim Garrison's (Kevin Costner) personal investigation into the links between businessman Clay Shaw (Tommy Lee Jones) and presumed assassin Lee Harvey Oswald (Gary Oldman), JFK is as much a director's crusade as it is a landmark in raising public consciousness. After JFK's unprecedented box-office success and eight subsequent Oscar nominations, the United States government felt enough pressure to unseal the secret files related to the assassination -- a first in Hollywood/federal government relations. The problem is that Stone neglected factual consistency in the name of making a point. Many of Garrison's statements and various aspects of the conspiracy as presented in JFK are entirely false or based on precarious speculation. JFK is a double-edged sword for Stone, who was simultaneously rewarded and punished within the Hollywood system for tackling such a sensitive subject. However, with regard to the unarguably imaginative editing, JFK remains a spectacular achievement in film. Often lost amongst criticism is the existence of as many frighteningly irrefutable facts as creative liberties. This, combined with an all-star cast, beautiful cinematography, and disturbing archival footage, makes JFK a must-see for anyone interested in John F. Kennedy and the underbelly of the American government.