Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.
USA/France, 1991. Warner Bros., Canal+, Regency Enterprises, Alcor Films, Ixtlan, Camelot. Screenplay by Oliver Stone, Zachary Sklar, based on the book On The Trail of The Assassins by Jim Garrison, and the book Crossfire: The Plot That Killed Kennedy by Jim Marrs. Cinematography by Robert Richardson. Produced by A. Kitman Ho, Oliver Stone. Music by John Williams. Production Design by Victor Kempster. Costume Design by Marlene Stewart. Film Editing by Joe Hutshing, Pietro Scalia. Academy Awards 1991. Golden Globe Awards 1991.
Oliver Stone’s three hour epic of grand political investigation (and paranoia) is a thrilling, fascinating recreation of the John F. Kennedy assassination that will entertain even the most incredulous of viewers. Kevin Costner plays Louisiana District Attorney Jim Garrison, who was so devastated by the murder of America’s seemingly untouchable president that he launched his own personal investigation into the matter, which culminated in the book On The Trail Of The Assassins upon which this film is partly based (the other source is Jim Marrs’ Crossfire: The Plot That Killed Kennedy). The complex plot is absolutely riveting, but any viewer who has no interest in the historical matter being put forth will instead be delighted by the giant assemblage of famous actors, including Kevin Bacon, Joe Pesci, Gary Oldman (doing an excellent Lee Harvey Oswald), Sissy Spacek (as Garrison’s wife), Jack Lemmon, Walter Matthau and an especially memorable Tommy Lee Jones as key witness Clay Shawe. A decidedly controversial film when it was first released, the hubbub has definitely died down after a decade but the film is still well remembered as a challenging work of art (a success that was not repeated when Stone made his biography of the other famous president in American History, Richard Nixon).