Rated: R For language and adult content. Reviewed by: Frank and Chris Release date: December 20, 1991
Three years after the November 22, 1963 assassination of JohnF. Kennedy, New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison (Kevin Costner) begins investigating the Warren Commission Report. After watching Lee Harvey Oswald (Gary Oldman) being arrested on television and protesting "I'm just a patsy," Garrison looks into Oswald's background and his possible CIA connections.
Garrison believes that the basis for the conspiracy to kill Kennedy was his commitment to withdraw from Vietnam, which would cost big business billions of dollars. Under suspicion is an anti-Communist group, headed by homosexual Clay Shaw (played Tommy Lee Jones, who is just terrific).
As publicity is leaked about Garrison's investigations, he and his small staff come up against closed doors at every turn; autopsy reports are missing, files are off limits for national security reasons and witnesses die under strange circumstances at an alarming rate. The only charges his office can make stick are against Shaw for his part in an alleged CIA cover-up.
Controversial director and co-writer Oliver Stone names the FBI, CIA, U.S. Military, Dallas Police Dept. and the White House, including J. Edgar Hoover and Lyndon B. Johnson, as being part of the murder of JFK and the subsequent cover-up. No one is safe from Stone; her condemns freely.
Impressive actors in small roles: Jack Lemmon, Ed Asner, Kevin Bacon, Sissy Spacek, Donald Sutherland and Joe Pesci lend color and class. Pesci and Sutherland are especially good.
Kevin Costner is outstanding as the obsessed D.A. He's consumed with the case, neglecting his wife (Spacek) and children. Costner, who usually acts sort of bland, gives a tense and moving performance.
The director mixes fascinating black and white newsreels and color photos frequently with the live action to help fill the three hours and 10 minutes of film.
You'll leave the theater thinking and arguing about this movie for hours. Stone takes liberty withy history, combing fact with fiction, but if broadening one's ideas is opening oneself up to different points of view, then certainly this is an exciting, interesting and entertaining way to get another perspective.