Oliver Stone is a very hit and miss director. I don’t mean that he has good films and bad films; his films all have good qualities about them, but for some reason, his films tend to be either really great as a result, or they just come off overblown and pompous. For me, JFK is right in the middle of these two grounds. It tries very hard to be a great film, but its content is just too muddy and fog-headed and unclear to carry any weight or wield any power, and that doesn’t just include the convincing kind.
This is a conspiracy movie from start to finish, featuring the greatest conspiracy of our age. The film purports to build a case that the Kennedy assassination was not done solely by Lee Harvey Oswald, or even by a single shooter. There are many conspiracy theories surrounding the JFK assassination, and this film covers a vast majority of them. The film is chock full of conjectures and theories, as indeed the conspiracy behind the Kennedy assassination is also full of. In this, the film captures the mentality behind the whole conspiracy well enough, if indeed this was the intention. It was the actual process of the film that bothered me more than anything. I wasn’t really sure what Stone was going for with his decisions of how to shoot, light, and display the film; it seemed to be very stylistic without having an actual point or usage to the style. It seemed to be showy for style’s sake and not for any practical reason or function, which started to bug me more as the film went on. The film is superbly edited, though, I’ll give it that.
This film just seemed to try too hard to convince us of what it’s presenting that the film starts to flounder under the lack of weight of its arguments. I wouldn’t have a problem with it if the whole point of the movie weren’t its material. The film is well made, I’ll at least say that, but it was just too aimless in both its plot and its execution to really garner a like in my book. The whole film felt like a baseless fabrication made to pull a different color of wool over my eyes for every second of its running time, not an eye-opening expose constructed to get me to think about things without having any wool pulled over me. This film is incredibly hard to be objective about, and thus your experience may vary from mine depending on your viewpoint on the matter, but I tried to explain why I felt the film tried too hard and failed in its execution from an objective viewpoint myself. It’s up to you as to whether or not I succeeded.
Arbitrary Rating: 7/10