JFK's story is actually set two years after the assasination, and follows Louisiana General Prosecutor Jim Garrison's investigation into the heart of the President's assasination. Garrison doesn't trust the Warren Commission's report on the crime, and many facts lead him to believe that a conspiracy exists, and that it includes some of the most powerful institutions in the country. Many have accused the story of being false and accusatory, but what they forget is that JFK is not a documentary, it's a movie. The story may not be true, but the way Stone and his team present it makes it more than believeable enough to be gripping and thouroughly detailed. Through Garrison's investigation, the film shows us a number of aspects of the assasination, and through clever flashbacks, manages to paint a fascinating portrayal of the events and people that surrounded the controversy.
The acting is uniformly excellent. Costner, as Garrison, gives a subtle yet powerful performance. Tommy Lee Jones is excellent as Clay Shaw, a business man accused of participating in the conspiracy. Also excellent are Kevin Bacon, Gary Oldman, Jack Lemmon, Vincend D'Onofrio and Sissy Spacek in various key performances.
Also worthy of mention is the direction. Stone has never been known for subtelty, but in this movie, his fervent, rapid technique is put to excellent use. Aided by Robert Richardson's masterful cinematography, the film uses a variety of film types to good effect, ranging from black and white in the flashbacks to home video for the Zapruder film. The camerawork is also masterful, as might be expeted from Stone.
But perhaps the greatest compliment that I can give this movie is that in 3 hours and 26 minutes, not one scene seemed out of place and not one second was boring. The pacing is perfect, and I can honestly saying that this is one of the only movie in which dialogue is so gripping as to make me shake with tension. The whole movies captures the urgency of the situation at the time, and every frame seems to be a cry to learn to truth. Because that is what this movie is about. Truth. It doesn't matter if the film's script is real or not, because the execution is so good that it accomplishes the greatest feat possible: to make you want to know the truth for real.
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