Starring Paul Giamatti, Zac Efron. Written and directed by Peter Landesman. PG. 93 min. Opens Oct. 4.
Seeing as Life magazine has ceased publication, we may be short on ways to commemorate the 50th anniversary of JFK’s assassination. Journalist-turned-filmmaker Peter Landesman strives to fill the gap with Parkland, a debut feature that gives the event and its aftermath the you-are-there-with-a-shaky-camera treatment of docudramas like Paul Greengrass’s United 93. Its scenes of bloodied doctors, panicked aides, and devastated Secret Service Agents are gripping, but Parkland is marred by Landesman’s efforts to ensure that the historical importance of every moment is not lost on viewers. He would have been wiser to spare more room for the outstanding performances. Giamatti is suitably wracked as Abraham Zapruder, the amateur cameraman who is devastated to have borne witness to the murder of the century. And as Lee Harvey Oswald’s bewildered and devastated brother, James Badge Dale conveys the strain of an equally heavy burden.