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Overall Rating
4.49

Awesome79.13%
Worth A Look: 6.96%
Average: 3.48%
Pretty Bad: 4.35%
Total Crap: 6.09%

3 reviews, 97 user ratings


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JFK
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by Dancing Potato

"Lone gunman on a grassy knoll? You fool."
5 stars

It's a movie about a guy who's dead and everyone argues about why he died. Yes, I loved it.

There are things that, as a Canadian teenager, I know practically nothing about. I mean historical things, you pervert. Stuff like the Manson murders, the Watergate scandal and the assassination of JFK are all-American and also took place before I was born, so whenever someone mentions these, I am reduced to nodding along. Well, that was before. Now I have movies, and more precisely, Oliver Stone’s masterful JFK.

November 22nd, 1963. President John Fitzgerald Kennedy is in Dallas, sitting in his convertible and driving down the streets as part of a parade. Minutes later, he is shot several times by an unseen assailant and dies. The culprit is found to be Lee Harvey Oswald (Gary Oldman), who is taken into custody. A few days later, Oswald is shot by Jack Ruby (Brian Doyle-Murray), apparently as an act of revenge. The case is closed for two years until New Orleans D.A. Jim Garrison (Kevin Costner) suspects the governement is keeping facts from the American public and decides to re-open the case. This in turn leads him to Clay Shaw (Tommy Lee Jones) a wealthy businessman with ties to a Cuban militant group.

Stone’s film has so much scope that attempting to explain its final theory is damn well near impossible. The screenplay is truly brilliant, etching together real footage with scenes filmed by Stone, bombarding the viewer with information, theories, diagrams and constant replays of the footage shot by Abraham Zapruder. This footage is graphic because it is real; I had never seen it before and it dug its own little roots in my brain. The film itself does that; it etches its own little roots everywhere, touching everything and everyone in the process.

I don’t know if the theory Stone puts across is real; that’s beside the point. The film is not so much about the events themselves as it is about the surrounding heresy of the media and the American people, a recurring theme in Stone’s films. As the events unfold (the assassinations of the various suspects and of Robert Kennedy), we feel the country growing more tense, more scared. At one point in the film, Garrison realizes that he may be in danger; at this point, I realized that if a film is ever to be made about the events of September 11th, Oliver Stone must do it.

The cast is truly massive; perhaps the biggest assemblance of quality actors aside from the Robert Altman/PT Anderson school of filmmaking. Altman and Anderson cast quality actors for the big roles; strangely enough, Stone doesn’t. The main roles are filled with familiar faces, but then again, so are the smallest bit parts. Actors like Walter Matthau, Kevin Bacon, Ed Asner, Vincent D’Onofrio and Donald Sutherland have roles that sometimes last barely a scene. Some may find this overbearing and braggy; I find it brilliant. Stone has used these actors to make the characters instantly recognizable, as if we were keeping tabs on the massive base of characters here. Costner, still in his Oscar Bait phase (right before the “I Am The King Of Hollywood, You Will Kiss My Ass No Matter How Horrible My Movies Are” phase), is remarkable here, tying together the loose ends with Atticus Finch-esque calm. Second-billed is Sissy Spacek, as Garrison’s wife. Spacek is a respectable actress, and her work is fine here; I’m just left wondering why exactly she was second-billed. Second billing should go either to Oldman for his flawless portrayal of Lee Harvey Oswald or Michael Rooker for his best role to date as one of Garrison’s co-workers. Rounding out the cast are (deep breath): Tommy Lee Jones, Joe Pesci, Kevin Bacon, Laurie Metcalf, Wayne Knight (as a guy named Neuma, of all people), John Candy, Jay O. Sanders, Donald Sutherland, Walter Matthau, Jack Lemmon, Ed Asner and the real Jim Garrison as Earl Warren.

I have no problem with the fact that what is being presented may be complete baloney. True, some aspects were Hollywoodized (Garrison reportedly threw a fit after the announcement of the trial; in the film he puts his face in his hands and… uh, well, that’s about it) and some may take personal offense at what is being portrayed here (the same people who are still mad at Jane Fonda, most likely), but the fact is Stone has taken what can best be described as a theory and backed it up with complete conviction. Perhaps this isn’t what most people believe (I think I heard somewhere that even Stone has his doubts) but if you’re able to make me believe, then you’ve got a winner in my book.

Oliver Stone is a provocateur; each and every one of his movies (except perhaps Any Given Sunday; I don’t see what the hell is provocative about that one except the full frontal male nudity) is made to provoke. JFK is perhaps not up to Natural Born Killers when it comes to being provoking, but it certainly stands its own ground as one of the best-crafted political films of all time.

The guy died. There's a reason why. See the movie.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=1194&reviewer=281
originally posted: 12/05/01 09:31:56
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User Comments

7/19/14 owwyjtuuze USA 2 stars
7/09/14 ywupbhfvt USA 2 stars
8/01/12 Jeff Wilder Some slow to a halt moments. But on the whole a classic. 5 stars
3/22/11 angie mazzara great film.shows how corrupt government is.how bad people are 5 stars
9/18/10 montedelasanimas Absorbing, fascinating and truly disturbing, with the character "X" on top of it. 5 stars
5/18/10 anikin it sucked cuz it long and borin 1 stars
1/01/10 PAUL SHORTT QUESTIONABLE HISTORY, THOUGH ABSORBING DRAMA, BLENDING FACT AND UNCERTAIN SPECULATION 3 stars
7/06/08 James It might be Oliver Stone's opinion, but to me it's still one of the best films ever made 5 stars
6/01/08 jointz Stone's film mixes fact and fiction, new and old footage, and forms such a convincing tale. 5 stars
4/25/07 David Cohen Stone's endless paranoid rant about our most overrated president 2 stars
2/13/07 johnnyfog Loses steam at the end, with the big trial 4 stars
1/27/07 action movie fan long boring and false! new jack city was the best film of 1991 2 stars
11/06/06 Edgurado Carrochio i really think that Starksy is a fantastic police cop and so is Hutch 5 stars
10/19/06 J It is a very interesting film. Some bits are boring, but overall it is great. 4 stars
6/25/06 MP Bartley A tour de force of acting, direction and editing. A tightly wound paranoid masterpiece. 5 stars
5/28/06 Boris Mostly fiction, but still an amazing, thought-provoking film 5 stars
11/29/05 R.W.Welch Diverting screwball fantasy with competent cast. 4 stars
9/20/05 John phenomenal piece of work 5 stars
5/25/05 Jake Hauntingly powerful! 5 stars
1/17/05 Nobody a very well made movie with no basis in reality. Stone purposely spreads lies throughout. 1 stars
12/07/04 Kurt Cobain Stone's most interesting movie. 5 stars
11/19/04 screb gripping 5 stars
9/26/04 Bucky Buckner Boone Just another example of something the US has to answer for and never will 5 stars
6/28/04 Noell I've done research for the J.F.K case since I was ten and this movie covered all of it. 5 stars
6/17/04 Kristen Very interesting Theory, and quite believable despite its exaggeration of nearly evidence. 4 stars
6/01/04 Big Russian a must see, anyone who rates it less than great is beyond shallow 5 stars
5/17/04 sarah paranoid and presumptious, but very watchable 4 stars
1/21/04 khjfjnfv Dramatic, intense, thought-provoking and original--just like a real movie should be. 5 stars
12/14/03 movieman there is no conspiracy its all bullshit, but good movie 3 stars
11/27/03 John cinematically brilliant and a compelling story 5 stars
5/08/03 John Lipian This movie is riveting! And I thought working for Larry Rhodes was exciting! 5 stars
4/15/03 Jack Bourbon Blah blah blah. . .blah BLAH. Ba blah ba blah. Blah BLAH blah blah. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. 1 stars
1/11/03 Desperado I am an avid believer in the Jfk conspiracy, and this movie says everything that proves it 5 stars
1/08/03 Seppo The Best of the best films ever made! 5 stars
12/31/02 Jack Sommersby Superb and provocative. Flawlessly directed and edited. Costner is wonderful. 5 stars
10/24/02 Flounder Put quite simply...this movie is excellent! One of the most thought provoking movies ever! 5 stars
10/14/02 Charles Tatum What's next? That right wing conspiracy film? 3 stars
7/12/02 KMG Awesome...and you get an added bonus: more Kevin Bacon connects! 5 stars
4/10/02 The Grinch Stone is NOT a credible source for history. He creates fantasy and presents it as fact. 1 stars
4/04/02 cat A bit slow, but the last hour makes up for the first 2. Very dramatic & graphic. 5 stars
3/24/02 entropy Excelent! Highly recomended. 5 stars
3/17/02 FlaFan Effective in generating new questions about the event. 5 stars
2/19/02 Erik North A controversial film that keeps stiring debate...in other words, a masterpiece! 5 stars
2/19/02 virginia ambrose I hated the movie 1 stars
2/17/02 Jimmy Dean eah... 1 stars
1/27/02 Lin Rainey This movie was all over the place...absorbing. Great movie making! 5 stars
1/26/02 Hank Graham technical proficiency in the service of SILLY CRAP 1 stars
1/25/02 KMAN Superb!! 5 stars
12/13/01 Dominik Duprelle Absorbing. Completely. And the cast is every "6 Degrees" players dream 5 stars
12/12/01 Kristin Nathe It was a very good movie 5 stars
12/05/01 Skip Young Revisionist history turns me off. What's so boring about the truth, Oliver? 3 stars
11/10/01 DMF Stone trying to sell claptrap by making it look realistic. 2 stars
11/05/01 Andrew Carden Very Well-Done and Scripted. Superb Casting and Very Realistic. 5 stars
9/03/01 Henry Ginsberg I can't belive that this did not win best picture at the oscars. 5 stars
8/31/01 spaceworm Awesome, yes. But DANCES WITH WOLVES "sucks all ass." 5 stars
8/25/01 Dave Mortlock Asks all the right questions, and gives reasonable answers. 5 stars
8/14/01 unkle very interesting 5 stars
8/10/01 E-Funk Relentlessly engaging. This film is so well put together, that it feels like the truth. 5 stars
8/01/01 Tod Brilliant! One of the finest crafted films of all time. 5 stars
7/07/01 Mustafa Ahad It simply great. Questions democracy to its extreme 5 stars
6/27/01 Erik North JFK is a film that provokes great debate--the best kind of film in my book! 5 stars
6/23/01 Gary Oldman We Love Your Work Fun propaganda. Spooky! 5 stars
6/14/01 Law Firm of Dewey, Cheatam & Howe The only long movie that could be longer and no one would have minded 5 stars
6/05/01 Just like a Wop . . . Me Rikeee!!! You make-a moovie? 5 stars
4/25/01 viking Far fetched, but intriguing 4 stars
3/30/01 Daniel Salinas The best film about the death and conspiracy to kill JFK 5 stars
3/27/01 Ichabod Crane Long but very fascinating 4 stars
2/21/01 John F Kennedy So, er, who shot me guys? 5 stars
1/17/01 The Terminator Easily one of the ebst of the 90's 5 stars
1/15/01 Action freak Right on Add 5 stars
1/11/01 Add Totally absorbing and 3 hours long! Great stuff 5 stars
1/01/01 Msitrab One of the best movies of all time(no Joke) 5 stars
12/04/00 Cristopher Revilla One of the best films ever made, it totally awesome!!!! 5 stars
11/25/00 The Evil Penguin another classic from Oliver Stone 4 stars
10/26/00 JC23 An Awesome film 5 stars
9/06/00 Elvisfan better than the rest of his movies even tho i don't like Kev that much 5 stars
8/08/00 General Along with Platoon, this is Oliver Stone's Best 5 stars
6/07/00 Taylor This film is awesome, great moviemaking and storytelling 5 stars
6/02/00 Add Just so good, don't be put of by it's length or that Costners in it. This is a classic. 5 stars
6/01/00 Jimmy One of the best and most important films of the 90's 5 stars
5/23/00 Jake A powerful and riveting film. 5 stars
5/22/00 Obi Wan Rocked!!! One of the best films ever!!! 5 stars
2/23/00 Jedi just a damn good movie 5 stars
2/19/00 Neil Austin Don't care if it's true or not, I'm english. What A Film 5 stars
12/25/99 Obi Wan Only film that can change narrow-minded, tight-lipped, bullshit-feeding, Congress??? 5 stars
7/05/99 Ben Leostein Rating: ***˝ (out of ****) Category: "Very Good" 5 stars
7/04/99 J-Dogg I'm voting again for my FAVORITE FILM EVER. 5 stars
6/17/99 J-Dogg What the fuck!! This is the greatest film ever made and it shouldn't be treated like that! 5 stars
6/15/99 Dylan The stone conspiracy movie-ten times better than nixon. 5 stars
6/04/99 Matthew Bartley Mesmerising....a modern classic 5 stars
4/07/99 Michael Grimm thought provoking, not a stone fan but the movie was riveting 5 stars
11/27/98 G if you open your mind a little this is a great movie. outstanding directing by Stone 5 stars
10/29/98 Silent Rob What film can be when Directors are allowed to challenge an audience to think and follow. 5 stars
10/24/98 Vincent Flat-out brilliant (and provocative) filmmaking 5 stars
10/24/98 grunter Paranoia breeds genius; multi-layered and historic; 5 stars
10/22/98 CaptNish Fuckin' great...left the film thinking I shot Kennedy. the Director's Cut a must see 5 stars
10/21/98 Johny Stone's best film 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  02-Jul-1991 (R)

UK
  N/A

Australia
  02-Feb-1992 (M)




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