by Nathan Westfall
There are few events in the history of the United States that have shaped the public mind set more than President Kennedy’s inaugural speech, urging Americans to “ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.”
Upon reading that the 50th anniversary of this remarkable speech had come upon us on Jan. 20, I decided to take a look back at the more somber side of Kennedy’s legacy.
Oliver Stone’s 1991 film “JFK” chronicles the quest by New Orleans district attorney Jim Garrison to uncover the conspiracy that lies behind Kennedy’s assassination.
After being uniquely touched by Kennedy’s words and actions like so many other Americans, only to have his president taken away from him all too soon, Garrison becomes intrigued by the findings of the commission created to investigate the assassination.
He begins to find small bits of information that would lead him to suspect a conspiracy. As Garrison digs deeper and deeper into the backgrounds of suspected assassin Lee Harvey Oswald and others involved, the impossibility of the government’s single shooter explanation becomes increasingly apparent.
Kennedy was the United States’ white knight of peace and after his assassination the country became increasingly involved in the war in Vietnam.
Thus, the various companies and government officials that were losing power with peace talks had motive to remove Kennedy for a more war-friendly President.
Needless to say, this is a film based around a very public conspiracy theory in our nation’s history.
The film does an excellent job portraying Garrison’s fight to bring the truth about the Kennedy assassination in the foreground of the American conscience.
Helmed by Stone and performed by one of the best ensemble casts in recent memory, “JFK” is a film that must be seen by any lover of history or conspiracy.
Kevin Costner’s rendering of Jim Garrison as a level headed public figure that is searching for answers creates an excellent foil to the supporting cast that ranges from the secretive (Donald Sutherland’s Mr. X character), to the downright bizarre (Joe Pesci’s role as David Ferrie).
I would recommend that this film be seen by almost everyone. Not only does it expose one of the most glaring conspiracies in United States history, but it is also a very interesting look behind the investigative process that makes up modern litigation.
In closing, I leave you with a Shakespeare reference that is displayed on screen right before the credits role; “The past is prologue.”
Director: Oliver Stone
Actors: Kevin Costner, Joe Pesci, Tommy Lee
Jones and Gary Oldman among many others
Production Year: 1991
Production Company: Warner Borthers,
Canal+, Regency Enterprises
Fun Facts: The real Jim Garrison plays Chief
Justice Earl Warren. Director Oliver Stone considers
this film to be his “The Godfather.”