Oliver Stone's 1991 JFK is a three-hour plus barrage of facts, speculation, theory and terrific movie making that ranks as one of the smartest films in Stone's controversial career.
Kevin Costner gives one of his best performances as Louisiana DA Jim Garrison, the only man to ever bring a case to trial to question the dubious findings of the Warren Commission.
By the time you have witnessed Stone's clever education on the hundreds of facts (along with his theories) that cast serious doubt on Lee Harvey Oswald being the lone gunman in Kennedy's assassination, you will be ready to argue the point as well.
As Garrison peels back layer after layer of facts that build an ever growing picture of a conspiracy to murder Kennedy, military contractors, Vietnam war contracts, Cuba, communist sympathizers and our own government are all in the mix.
The genius of Stone's screenplay and direction is that he immerses you in Garrison's investigation, with the viewer making the discoveries along with his team. As the facts pile up, the Warren commission findings become paper thin.
Costner is surrounded by an all-star cast down to the smallest roles, with Tommy Lee Jones, Kevin Bacon, Sissy Spacek and Joe Pesci making strong impacts.
The greatest support comes from the great Gary Oldman as Oswald. Oldman captures a weak, angry little man looking to be something bigger. Whether he is the patsy for much bigger forces at play as the film depicts or truly the lone gunman, Oldman is brilliant.
The Director's Cut of the film is over three and a half hours long and never lags for a moment. It's a tribute to Stone's writing and the Oscar Winning editing by Pietro Scalia (Prometheus, Gladiator) that the film moves so quickly.
John Williams provides some of his best film music here, with an ever present score that matches the film in excitement and power.
This film certainly swayed my opinion on the long gunman, as it did many. As a result of the film, sealed records around many of the police findings and evidence from 11/22/63 will now be released two decades sooner than they were originally planned. Now we only have two more decades to see all the evidence, a fact disturbingly in line with the picture Stone paints so well.
This is a powerful, exciting, intelligent film. Hugely controversial upon its release because of Stone's murky blending of fact and theory, its undeniably a superior film, no matter which side of the grassy knoll you are on when it comes to the facts.
One of my all time Top Ten favorite films and an A+.
It's brilliant filmmaking.