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Stars: James Badge Dale, Paul Giamatti, Zac Efron, Billy Bob Thornton, Marcia Gay Harden, Ron Livingston, Jacki Weaver, Mark Duplass, Gil Bellows, Colin Hanks, Jackie Earle Haley, Rory Cochrane, Glenn Morshower, Greg Wise, Jeremy Strong

Director: Peter Landesman

This is a film that fails to justify its existence. There just doesn't seem to be any point to this re-creation of the assassination of President Kennedy in 1963 and its immediate aftermath.

It only belatedly becomes apparent, in fact, that the film's true focus is on Robert Oswald (Dale), the brother of the man alleged to have shot the president; otherwise, the narrative has nothing fresh to bring to the table.

So we see a newspaperman (the always worthy Giamatti) taking film of what turns out to be the assassination - a few familiar frames are later shown - followed by the futile fight to save JFK, as doctors, led by Jim Carrico (Efron), together with their head nurse (Harden), take on the hopeless task, as a faint heartbeat provides false hope.

The rest is a parade of talking heads and lots of men in suits clutching useless rifles. Poor colour processing and sluggish direction take the edge of any suspense, which evaporates altogether once the president is dead. Altogether, it's pretty much a waste of the considerable talent involved.

David Quinlan

USA 2013. UK Distributor: Koch Media. Colour by FotoKem/Prints by deluxe.
93 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 0, Swearing 1.

Review date: 16 Nov 2013