Dallas. November 22, 1963. 12:38pm. Wounded President John F. Kennedy is rushed to Parkland Memorial Hospital, where a frantic trauma team struggles in vain to save him. Precisely forty-eight hours later, the same personnel would attend to the President’s mortally wounded assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald. Adapting Vincent Bugliosi’s acclaimed non-fiction book Four Days in November, first-time writer-director Peter Landesman gathers a star-studded cast (including Zac Efron, Paul Giamatti, and Academy Award-winners Billy Bob Thornton and Marcia Gay Harden) to deliver an ensemble based procedural drawn from the accounts of the medical staff, investigators, and the ordinary citizens who witnessed the world-changing events first-hand.
Now in stores on DVD, audiences will not find anything new or integral to the JFK Assassination in Parkland, this is not that film. Instead it remains content to merely play out and display the actions of the bystanders of that act. Parkland does manage to present better on the home screen though as the benefits of home viewing, being able to step away easily and pause when required, greatly helps the watchability of a film that felt dull and overlong in theaters. Not everything works though as the film features a story thread involving the secret service agent who originally interview Oswald months before that either needs to be more fleshed out or excised all together as it remains very underdeveloped and awkward. This is a straight procedural in every sense of the word, there is little character history or backstory that is explored, just the events of the 4 days are displayed.