What happened on the day that John F. Kennedy died? Parkland, the directorial debut of fledgling screenwriter Peter Landesman, takes on the task of answering that exact question, not so much by recreating the assassination – though it does appear to do that – but by depicting the tragedy and its aftermath from the perspectives of the people who witnessed and experienced it. The first trailer for the film focuses on these figures almost completely, diverting focus away from the Presidential motorcade itself and fixing it on a street-level point of view.
Parkland, at least judging by the footage, recounts historical events through the use of an ensemble cast (and does so, allegedly, in real-time, too); the narrative rotates between the nurses and doctors stationed at the hospital of the title (portrayed by, among others, Marcia Gay Harden and Zac Efron), Dallas Secret Service officers Forrest Sorrels (Billy Bob Thornton) and Roy Kellerman (Tom Welling), FBI agents (represented in the clip by Ron Livingston), and – perhaps most interestingly – Abraham Zapruder (Paul Giamatti), the man who inadvertently caught the entire scene on home camera while filming the president’s ride down Elm Street.
That’s enough talent to shake a stick at already, but there’s even more to the cast than that. Landesman also tells his story through the eyes Lee Harvey Oswald himself (here played by James Strong), as well as his mother (Jackie Weaver), and his brother (James Badge Dale). Looks like the newly minted filmmaker has covered all the bases here, and in the process created a pretty ambitious picture.
Of course, he may not be breaking any new ground – Parkland feels mildly reminiscent of Pete Travis’ Vantage Point, and bears an even stronger family resemblance to Oliver Stone’s JFK. But Landesman could well be examining the shooting from angles not seen here, and using approaches that are all his own. He’s certainly aiming high with his cast, which is replete with Oscar winners and nominees; maybe youngsters like Efron are hoping some of that Academy mojo will rub off on them.
Parkland is premiering at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival in September, but it’ll open wide in US theaters later that month. We’ll see soon enough if Landesman has successfully captured the details of JFK’s death and its nation-altering impact in full.
Parkland arrives in US theaters on September 20th, 2013.
Source: Yahoo! Movies