Movie Review Essay: "JFK"
I don't believe that Oliver Stone nor any other individual associated with the research and execution of this film has the slightest idea about who killed President John F. Kennedy. The screenwriters blatantly admit this fact in mentioning that, "even the shooters don't know who killed JFK." This film is not concerned with the facts of the assassination, but with feelings. The film, JFK, accurately reflects the society's national state of mind following the gloomy afternoon of November 22, 1963.
We feel the whole truth has not been told, that somehow maybe the CIA, the FBI, Castro, the anti-Castro Cubans, the Mafia, Russians, or all of the above were involved. Oliver Stone focuses on this horrible event in order to form an argument about the government of the United States. The government is not the holy angel that many Americans perceive and expect it to be. Just as evil exists in our society so does it in the body that governs it. Though we don't expect the government to reveal its deepest most reserved secrets we do insist that it follow a moral and loyal code, the truth. In our quest for this truth we have discovered more than one clandestine deficiency in our government, some of which we have been successful in uncovering (Watergate) and others with largely a degree of failure (Roswell, JFK). Throughout JFK Oliver Stone engages two widely held beliefs: don't believe everything you hear and don't trust everyone. These two sole factors are the basis of JFK and Stone's arguments against the validity of the government. Through the utilization of JFK Oliver Stone directly denounces the report presented by the Warren Commission explaining the assassination of John F. Kennedy and emblematically condemns the government for all the dishonesty and deception that it has fed its people.
It is human nature to question the validity of certain events throughout our history. From Roswell to the assassination of JFK, conspiracies have long spotlighted our curiosity of the unknown. We are all aware of the existence of government secrecies. This notion of the unknown makes us question our perception of reality and truth, in effect increasing our paranoia of the unreliability of our governing body. It is this deviousness that Oliver Stone vividly portrays and Jim Garrison so faithfully contends in the film, JFK. Stone avoids facts that don't suit his purpose and manipulates several separate theories so that they all become a part of Garrison's investigation. The bottom line of this film is the demolition of the "lone gunman" assassination theory. He argues that it is unfeasible for Oswald to fire six shots in 2.6 seconds , that too many facts surrounding the whereabouts of Oswald on Nov. 22 and the assassination were tainted and blurred by covert units of the government. Stone paints several detailed scenarios of a conspiracy to murder the President that are so persuasive you find yourself almost believing what he says. He appears to hold the government accountable for not providing a plausible convincing truth and blatantly withholding information. It is a duty of the government to provide security for its people, when this security is shaken it must stand behind them to comfort and calm. In the case of September 11th the government did just that, though following the events of November 22, 1963 the opposite could be observed. The government, instead of upholding the desires for truth from it people, raised its court hammer and with a finalizing thump forced a fallible conclusion on to the public with a "take it or leave it" attitude. In doing so the government blurred the line between fact and fiction, truth and falsehood. Those who wish to continue a search for truth may do so. But with much evidence believed to be tainted or destroyed the truth has already had a private funeral to which the public was not welcomed.
JFK is not a film that makes an argument about the government; it is a film, which poses questions about "The System" of which the government is a part. This System consists of five key forces (all of which in the end boil down to money, the root of all evil): the power of money and markets, corporate power, our political process or election through money, the power of government, and the media (which helps protect the private interests of those who can afford it). The massive power of this organized system has the ability to grind down the individual to meaningless insignificance; the individual, a pillar of our society. It is an elusive totalitarian power which is too complex for the average American to perceive. This System creates the mechanism by which opposition can be wiped out, where an individual's inquiry about the validity of a certain aspect of "The System" can result in permanent silence. The coalition rarely oversteps its boundaries, in order to keep warm beneath the blanket of democratic justice. Yet, as typical of human nature, it occasionally losses sight of these boundaries and oversteps them. In such rare occasions the wind blows strong allowing a quick glimpse at the unveiled naked body before it is again concealed, as it was in the assassination of JFK. Our subconscious paranoia catches on to these quick flashes, though unable to make out a detailed picture, can only speculate on their beliefs by forming conspiracy theories.
I think that many people in history who had power were bumped off because they had power and certain interests they wanted to attain through the use of that power. This is a rule of life. We all know if you've got power, you better watch your back because people are going to be jealous, and envy and jealousy are reigning emotions in this life. Never underestimate the power of jealousy and the power of envy to destroy. Julius Caesar was killed as such. It's a given that many popes, kings, and queens, and countless others in power though history, have been removed by opponents with common interest that differ from their own. Why should American history be any different than Asian or European history?
Stone's description of the film as a myth is both true and "truth." Myth is too often equated with fiction or ignorance, but in actuality it is the best representation of the truth that mortals can fashion about the perceived unknown. The "truth", the created myth, of JFK is not to give the final word on the assassination, but to give the truth of the critics, the researchers who's ideas reflect his own. The assassination of JFK will stand indefinitely as a record of how we felt and to this day feel. How the American people suspect that there is more to the government then is or ever will be revealed. JFK is a brilliant reflection of our unease and paranoia, our restless dissatisfaction of being unaware of the whole truth.
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