This 'touchy-feely' account of the assassination's direct repercussions relies far too heavily on conjuncture and emotive language to swaddle its sugar-sack of national grief in a warm and comforting embrace that seems unlikely to travel well outside of the States. From Giamatti's four-day crying episode to the film's attempts to rewrite history and heighten the tension of the operating room as all the kings horse and all the kings men attempt to put poor Jacky back together again, Parkland is little more than the audible whimper of a people ruminating over a great tragedy.
Ironically, for a film that discusses the importance of dignity - particularly in relation to the press not publishing the image of the fatal 'kill shot' - Parkland sometimes forgets to apply this philosophy to its own interpretation of events. As Zac Efron mounts the corpse of America's fallen hero to perform CPR, thrusting up and down on Kennedy's chest like a bearded child pumping up a paddling pool, a doctor turns to him and states "Boy, you've got nothing to work with." But that's not quite the case for Landesman. There was plenty to 'work with' here, so it's disappointing that his offering turns out to be little more than one long funeral procession.
This review was originally published on 15 October, 2013 as part of our London Film Festival coverage.