Following the shooting of JFK on November 22, 1963 chaos ensues as America is left shell shocked at what has just happened. For the nurses and doctors at Parkland Hospital they find their hospital not only taken over by heavily armed men but they find themselves desperately trying to save the life of the president who is rushed there. Meanwhile family man, Abraham Zapruder (Paul Giamatti), finds himself swept up in the chaos when the secret service men come to him as he took footage of what happened on his cine camera. Meanwhile Lee Harvey Oswald's brother finds himself trying to deal with not just what his brother has done, as well as the rantings of his mother, but what it means to his family living in Dallas in Texas.
As a Brit who wasn't even born back in 1963 the events of November 22, 1963 in Dallas, Texas have never had the same impact on me as those who remember where they were on that day. But I have to say having watched "Parkland" I feel a little bit more connected to what happened as director Peter Landesman brings out the chaos and emotion of those events and doing so from various perspectives. As such you go from the emotional shell shock which Abraham Zapruder feels as he finds himself clutching on to his camera as he is escorted by secret service men to the emotional desperation of the doctors and nurses who find themselves fighting to save the live of JFK whilst outside the room is hoards of people including a shell shocked Mrs. Kennedy clutching on to a piece of her husband's skull.
But what is so good about "Parkland" is that it doesn't just show what went on in the chaotic hours after the shooting, in fact we return to the hospital when they find themselves having to try and save Lee Harvey Oswald's life, it also shows how no one was prepared for such a thing. As such we see the men who had desperately tried to protect JFK determined to protect his dead body and get it back to Washington but in doing so the way things went down was less than dignified as there was arguing and chaos. Plus we get to see how for Oswald's brother he finds himself faced with being ostracized because of what his brother did. "Parkland" is very much a multi-layered dramatisation and all these layers nicely come together to bring out the chaos, shell shock and emotion of that day.
What "Parkland" also has is a pretty impressive cast with the likes of Marcia Gay Harden, Zac Efron, Paul Giamatti and Billy Bob Thornton in various roles and each of them play their parts very well. But what works is that not one of them is the star of the movie as there is no central character and as such no one dominates the movie despite bringing out the emotion and conflict of the day
What this all boils down to is that "Parkland" is a very powerful movie and does a wonderful job of bringing out the chaos and emotion of November 22, 1963 as well as what it meant for those involved beyond that day as their lives would never be the same.