Oliver Stone loves making controversial American pictures. Born on the Fourth of July and Platoon fiercelessly took shots at the Vietnam War and his presidential films have also trodden fine lines in their views of the state. JFK isn’t just his best film, it’s a truly great political thriller that still packs resonance. Kevin Costner’s investigative lead examines the assassination of President Kennedy with all the acute detail the script provides for him. In it, he unfolds a vast conspiracy that leads to a captivating speech that outlines what really happened to JFK, according to Oliver Stone. Although presented as fact despite many flaws in the argument, the conspiracy theory at the film’s centre works because it so brilliantly captures the sense of paranoia and thirst for answers that many in the USA had.
The cast is an all-timer: Costner is backed by Gary Oldman, Jack Lemmon, Tommy Lee Jones, Kevin Bacon, Joe Pesci, John Candy, Ed Asnwer and Donald Sutherland (among many others). Robert Richardson’s cinematography is divine, matched by Oscar-winning editing that cuts between black and white footage to the present with serious precision. The mighty length allows the cast to breathe and embody their roles, as well as for the audience to wallow in the deceit, corruption and covering up of the truth. Stone has since returned to JFK’s death with a new documentary, emphasising the same monomania in the case that drives Costner’s, Jim Garrison.
Check out the trailer for JFK below: