"Where were you when JFK was shot?" Director Peter Landesman assembles a star-studded cast (Zac Efron, Paul Giamatti, Billy Bob Thornton, and Jacki Weaver) for this riveting ensemble procedural about the doctors, investigators, and ordinary citizens who witnessed history first-hand.
Dallas. November 22, 1963. 12:38pm. A wounded President John F. Kennedy is rushed to Parkland Memorial Hospital, where a frantic trauma team struggles in vain to save him. Precisely forty-eight hours later, the same personnel would attend to the President's mortally wounded assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald.
That symmetry provides the framework for Parkland, a kaleidoscopic response to that generation-defining question: "Where were you when JFK was shot?" Adapting Vincent Bugliosi's acclaimed non-fiction book Four Days in November, first-time writer-director Peter Landesman gathers a star-studded cast (including Zac Efron, Paul Giamatti, and Academy Award-winners Billy Bob Thornton and Marcia Gay Harden) to deliver an engrossing ensemble procedural drawn from the accounts of the medical staff, investigators, and ordinary citizens who witnessed the world-changing events first-hand.
With exacting precision, Landesman revisits the those fateful days as experienced by five key figures: Jim Carrico (Efron), a twenty-eight-year-old surgical resident and the first physician to tend to Kennedy upon his arrival at Parkland; Forrest Sorrels (Thornton), head of the Dallas bureau of the Secret Service; James Hosty (Ron Livingston), an FBI agent assigned to investigate Lee Harvey Oswald prior to Kennedy's assassination; Oswald's estranged brother, Robert (James Badge Dale); and Abraham Zapruder (Giamatti), whose inadvertent footage of the shooting became the world's most famous strip of 8mm film.
Also starring Mark Duplass, Colin Hanks, Jacki Weaver, and Jackie Earle Haley, Parkland is a superbly acted and richly textured drama, offering remarkable, seldom-reported insights into the event that stunned a nation — and that continues to fascinate fifty years on.