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Non-Review Review: Parkland

There are few moments that hold as much sway over American popular consciousness as the assassination of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy. Perhaps only the moon landing or the news footage of the 9/11 attacks could compete from the last half-century of history. The assassination and its aftermath have been discussed and reconsidered countless times in the decades since those shots rang out in Dallas. There are those who continue to believe in some sinister conspiracy, while others seem to accept the probability that the nation was rocked by the actions of a single disturbed individual.

Parkland offers relatively little to the discussion, focusing on the stories unfolding around the assassination and the lives that intersect with the famous historical figures who pass through the narrative. While it’s a nice idea in practice, these sorts of historical ensemble pieces can be tricky, as Bobby demonstrated rather recently. There’s a sense that even some of these characters who find themselves caught up in events larger than themselves have become figures of interest themselves, and a scant 93 minutes isn’t enough to peel back any layers or reveal anything particularly insightful.

Sadly, the characters are not as well developed...

Sadly, the characters are not as well developed…

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Non-Review Review: The Day of the Jackal

The Day of the Jackal is a fascinating entry in the assassination subgenre, most impressive for the careful and meticulous way that it examines the unfolding events – it’s more of a procedural than a cat-and-mouse thriller. Indeed, it’s almost an hour into the film before the two detectives chasing the eponymous hit man appear on screen. Fred Zinnemann’s movie has a two-and-a-half hour runtime, but doesn’t rely on a shifting or twisting narrative to fill it. Instead, it simply allots the characters and the world that they inhabit a bit more room to breathe, to the point where The Day of the Jackal seems a great deal more human and personal than most assassination thrillers, as we get a sense of the people tied up in a plot to assassinate Charles de Gaulle.

Tie a grey rope ’round the old… I’m not sure what type of tree that is…

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Non-Review Review: Nick of Time

Nick of Time is an underrated nineties high-concept thriller that really runs on the charm of its cast and the skill of director John Badham.In a way, Badham seems stuck in a race against time that is just as tense as anything facing his protagonist. Badham has to make it from the start of the film to the final fadeout before the audience stops to think too much about the somewhat convoluted plot taking place. Nick of Time features perhaps the most ridiculously convoluted assassination attempt ever, but it’s generally so much fun that it’s easy not to get tangled in some of the logic problems.

They weren’t trained for this…

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Right Here, Right Now: Thoughts on Kathryn Bigalow’s Osama Bin Ladin Project…

It’s interesting that the piece of news which grabbed me most coming out of the whole news cycle around the assassination of Osama Bin Ladin by US troops in Pakistan wasn’t any of the discussion over the legality of the act, nor the debate over whether assassination is now an acceptable tool of foreign policy. It was the near-instantaneous announcement that Kathryn Bigalow would be working on a feature film adaptation of the killing, an adaptation that reportedly has a mostly finished script and a lead actor already. Perhaps it’s a stunning illustration of just how quick the news and media cycle is, but I wonder how quick we feel the need to turn history into cinema.

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