Killing Kennedy (Blu-ray)

February 18, 2014 6 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton

Plot: What’s it about?

When I watched last year’s Killing Lincoln, I was pretty impressed. Moreover, I had no idea that TV personality Bill O’Reilly was responsible for the book and the subsequent movie.  With the critical acclaim lauded on that movie, it seemed that it was only a matter of time before Killing Kennedy came out. That time has come and here we are.  I’m a big fan of Oliver Stone’s JFK and it’s a film that I’ve watched countless times. It’s one of those 3 hour long movies that, for me, feels like it passes in about 45 minutes. Yes, to me, it’s just that good.  With that said, I’d have to say that any film that comes out that deals with Kennedy in any way, shape or form has its work cut out.  And so with Killing Kennedy, we do get a lot of repeated information (this is history and much of it is fact, though the entire assassination is clouded in conspiracy). We don’t get quite the sense of controversy that JFK contained, instead it’s more like a “movie of the week” that has recognizable characters.

The film mainly follows Lee Harvey Oswald (Will Rothhaar) in the years prior to his involvement with the Kennedy assassination. We follow him as he defects to Russia, then back to the United States and the scrutiny that he faces with the FBI, who is convinced that he’s still loyal to the Russians. Conversely, John Kennedy (Rob Lowe) is a newly-elected President and we see him face the issues we all know he’ll face like the Bay of Pigs and the Cuban Missle Crisis.  His extramarital affairs are alluded to along with doting wife, Jackie (Ginnifer Goodwin).  We’re also privy to the give and take relationship of Bobby Kennedy (Jack Noseworthy), the Attorney General of the United States. We see Kennedy’s re-election campaign start off, his focus on Texas and his subsequent visit to Dallas where he ultimately meets his demise.

While there’s nothing particularly wrong with Killing Kennedy, the whole thing seemed a bit forced for me.  I’m sure, given the success of its predecessor, there was a demand for this movie and considering all of the parallels between Kennedy and Lincoln – this was a no-brainer. Lowe makes for a convincing Kennedy, he’s got both the hair and the looks. His accent, as well as Jackie’s, kind of faded in and out.  I’d say the performance that I was most impressed with was that of Bobby Kennedy (Jack Noseworthy), a native of Massachusetts and someone I’ve not seen in films for a while.  When comparing this to JFK, this pales by comparison.  Then again I figured it would from the get go.  History buffs might enjoy this or those that read the book, but I think those searching for the absolute truth or a more entertaining version need to look elsewhere.

Video: How’s it look?

Though there are several “stock” elements in Killing Kennedy, they’re all manufactured and made to look like they took place in the early 60’s. By and large, the 1.78:1 AVC HD image looks stunning, with detail showcasing amazing little nuances like Lowe’s teeth, the wrinkles in his face and the intricate details in the scenes.  Colors are warm and saturated, the hues of Dallas mesh well with the more corporate, cold feel of “Mother Russia.” Put it this way – this is a brand new film and new to Blu-ray, so we all know what to expect.

Audio: How’s it sound?

The included DTS HD Master Audio soundtrack has a few moment, but I was reminded that I was watching something made for television as opposed to some grandiose hundred million dollar feature film. Then again, we don’t need much more than dialogue in a movie like this. Vocals seemed strong and well-balanced, surrounds used sparingly, do offer some added dimension to a few scene and I don’t think I heard the LFE offer much. It’s a passable mix, but nothing to get overly excited about.

Supplements: What are the extras?

There are just enough supplements in this package to warrant a purchase if you’re a fan of the movie.  Let’s dive in and see what to expect.

  • Camelot’s End: The Making of Killing Kennedy – More of a promotional piece for the film than anything else, we get input from the cast and crew about this undertaking. Executive Producer Ridley Scott offers his thoughts on the subject matter, the cast and the overall shoot.
  • Bill O’Reilly Interview – This is basically just an interview with Bill O’Reilly, author of the book Killing Kennedy.
  • The Kennedy Mystique – Lowe, Goodwin and Noseworthy offer their two cents on the lasting impressions by the Kennedy family.
  • Virginia Promo – Yes, really – a quick spot for the state of Virginia.

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