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George At 

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I only thought I knew the story behind Edward "Teddy" Kennedy's infamous and ill-fated drive into a lake in 1969. The suspenseful new drama CHAPPAQUIDDICK details all the events around the event and what SHOULD have been Kennedy's last days in politics.

Jason Clarke (Zero Dark Thirty, The Great Gatsby) looks EERILY like Teddy, especially in some key moments in the film that are spooky in their realism.

The black sheep of the Kennedy family and last surviving brother of the wealthy clan, Teddy is a womanizing, drinking, mess of a politician. He's able to turn it on for the cameras, but behind the scenes, he's always lesser than the moment.

When he decides to drive young campaign worked Mary Jo Kopekchne (Kate Mara) home after a night of drinking, he drives their car off a bridge. The car flips, Teddy swims out and Mary Jo perishes (not quickly) inside the car.

Inexplicably, Teddy simply walks back to the party and grabs his two cousins and close advisors to tell them, at leisure, what's happened.

Those two men are played in serious fashion by two great comic actors, Ed Helms (The Office, The Hangover) and Jim Gaffigan.

Rushing back to the scene, they dive repeatedly to save the girl, without success.

The men plead with Teddy to report the accident immediately, but he fails to do so, setting off a chain of events too crazy to be anything but actual history.

Clarke is excellent as Kennedy, showing the remorse, the anguish, the ego & the arrogance of a man raised in privilege, with no clear sense of moral obligation, but a very obvious sense of entitlement.

Bruce Dern is powerful in an almost dialogue free performance as stroke-addled Joe Kennedy, who rules the family with an iron fist and abhors Teddy's weakness.

Clancy Brown (Carnivale, Highlander) cuts a powerful swath as Robert McNamara, who leads a veritable gaggle of power players brought in by Joe to clean up the latest Teddy mess.

The way the power brokers twist the truth and control the system to protect the powerful Kennedy's at the expense of ANY resemblance of due process for the bumbling senator is as horrifying as it is revolting.

I never realized that this event took place the same weekend as the first Moon Landing, which was blessed timing to bury Mary Jo's death on the back pages of the paper, at first.

The film plays like a suspense thriller, well crafted to reveal the sequence of events in a fashion that shows Mary Jo might have lived quite awhile after the accident. How many of the EIGHT HOURS after the accident, in which Kennedy failed to report it, was she fighting for life in the car?

Watching the actual ABC news footage of man in the street interviews after Kennedy finally makes his statement about the accident in prime time, you cant help but shake your head on the near complete lack of justice served.

Kennedy comes across as a flawed, less than intelligent man living in the long shadow of his older, smarter brothers.

I felt the same amount of sympathy for him watching the film as he ever expressed for the death of the young woman in his car: ZERO.

Observant, smart and telling, CHAPPAQUIDDICK gets a B.

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